Alappuzha, Ride to the God’s own Country

And this how it all started,

Sep 29 23:00 Guys when are we starting tomorrow.

Dhana: 4:00 in the morning assemble at Gandipuram bus stand and we are leaving to Kerala. And finally the myth was broken, first time TLT riding to a location purely out of Karnataka.

That’s it no more taking, the destination was set, rest was to the riding.

Day 1 Sep 30, The Boys are Back – Venice of the East                              Jump to Day 2 Oct 1, United We Ride

4:00 College gang reunion, with the tag of Shankar boys getting together after 2 long years. Everyone assembled sharp by 4:00 at the bus stand. Arasuvel, Dhana, Deepan, Balraj, Hari and Jobince were the crew, this trip also gets the privilege for identifying the hidden talent in Arasu and naming him Raghul “The Google” and also Hari Prakash first trip with his new Hornet. The route for this trip was decided over a cup of tea.

The Crew – Such a Heavenly View

Dhana, Arasu -> RE 350 Classic

Koushik, Raj -> RE 350 Classic (My First ride with RE)

Deepan, Jobince -> Apache 160

Hari -> Hornet 160

5:30 Reached Eachanari Vinayagar Temple, had the blessing of lord Ganesha before marching forward. And what’s a ride without hiccups, Hari and Raj due to their time wasting technique, missed out the right turn which would take to Palakkad, and took the Pollachi route. It was after 15 KM we came to know that. Not much of thinking, asked them to catch the Trissur route and lets all get together at Trissur. Since they were 10 KM behind us, we had ample time for relaxation and time to chitchat. And then the Mother Nature showered its blessing, it started to rain and was like the rain chasing us, use to rain for some time, stops and then raining again, beautiful with the NH being well built for the ride, off we went streaming through all the obstacles. Me and Dhana taking the RE for a long ride for the first time, enjoyed each and every bit of the riding in that machine.

8:00 All the riders got together at Trissur NH, decided to look out for a hotel, moved few KM and we found out the perfect spot for the breakfast. Ordered a plate of ghee roast for each, it was so delicious that we forgot we need to drive another 150 KM and started to order every item available in the hotel, vada, poori etc, etc.

9:00 Towards Kochi we marched. With 120 KM being covered in less than 2 hours we thought that we would reach Alappuzha way before 11:00, but NH had other plans for us, the roads were under construction, potholes, speed breakers, diversion every 5 km, challenging though. But being morning and climate being moderate we managed to cross the 30 KM without much trouble. Kochi highway started, a relief breadth on the riders face not lasting for more than a mile, the next 50 KM was a traffic hit, rumbler hit ride 

LULU mall junction was the highlight. We felt that Chennai and Bangalore traffic were better comparatively. We had lots of time to take selfie, group photos, tea, coffee, snacks, whatever we thought to do we did being stuck in the traffic.

LULU Mall Traffic Ridiculousness

It was already 11:30 when we took the left turn to Alappuzha, the time we thought would reach the destination we were still 60 KM behind. In the meantime we had Jobince set up at Alappuzha to arrange the boat house and by 12:30 we reached Alappuzha everything was ready waiting for our arrival. And then the real exploration/fun started.

The core backwater area of Alleppey is rich in natural beauty with enchanting greenery all around the backwater with either sides of the river stretch filled with coconut trees and the typical Kerala style built homes, there were number of tree branches bending precariously over the water before they shoot skywards, mesmerising sight while gently floating in the boat resting on the couch. Localite explaining the history and fame of Alleppey, took us to the place where every year the boat race would happen, halting near the shores under the tree shades with the breeze welcoming us for the lunch.

19:30 The boathouse came to a stop, they called it the day marking the end of riding over the backwaters and for the whole night the boat will be halted at the same place until 7:30 the next day. Menu for dinner were provided, we selected the cuisine to be prepared and the party started. Switched on the TV, resting on the couch, watching the beauty of moon light reflecting on the water, crunching the snack and the long talk from 2008 began, we were walking through the memory lane, remembering and sharing the happiest and the embarrassing moments before moving to their respective rooms. A day to remember for ages. Most of the contents censored for riders credibility 

Essential Information:

Alappuzha is famous for varieties of cuisine based out fish and duck roast, and the cook will arrange on your request, so do try it out if you’re gonna visit Alappuzha.

Click here for Day 2 Oct 1 – United We Ride

 

Shimoga, Jog Falls – Nature Untethered

Best time to visit: Shimoga (All Season), Jog (Aug – Nov)

Recommended for: All

Jog Falls the second highest plunge in India after Nohkalikai in Meghalaya, Gerusoppa or Gerusoppe is the town where the falls is, hence it is named as Gerusoppa Falls and Jog falls is an anglicized version. Elevated at a height of 253 mts the falls is chopped up as “Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket”. Raja is the highest fall and joins the Roarer at some point. Another is named as Roarer because of the noise it makes. Rani slithers and falls gracefully while Rocket dives deep like a whale.

And this is how it started,

Me: Shall we go out for a ride?

Harish: Yes, why not. Let’s go in my vehicle.

Me: Have you filled the petrol? Checked the air pressure? How about the engine oil level? Mine is all good by the way.

Harish: In reserve, air pressure checked three weeks back, engine oil is at the right level and good for a long trip too, with this said my bike is ready for the ride.

Me: What? Alright then, if you’re confident with your bike. We are going to catch the Pune NH.

And we didn’t have a clue that this will mark 2017 TLT’s Milestone

Attractions in Shimoga

  • Sakrebyle Elephant Camp – 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM (All day)
  • Gajanur Dam – Open till 5:00 PM (All day)
  • Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary – Open till 5:00 PM (All day)
  • Lion Tiger Safari – Open till 5:00 PM
  • Jog Falls the walk down: Open from 9:00 Am to 5:00 PM, (depending on the weather conditions)

Attractions En Route

  • Agumbe – 93 KM away from Shimoga
  • Sringeri – 103 KM away from Shimoga
  • Chitradurga – 107 KM away from Shimoga
  • Yana – 101 KM away from Jog Falls

16 Sep 2017 Day 1 The Blessing Rainy Day, Shimoga

01:00 Started for the trip. Nothing much to carry had the power bank fully charged, and the camera bag with us. Luckily we came across the petrol station nearby, filled the petrol and off towards Pune NH. The drive was smooth until Nelamangala highways, on crossing the toll road we felt the fear of driving at late nights, there was a truck at the left lane, moved to the middle lane on the move to overtake the truck, within fraction of seconds we were surrounded by trucks , 1:00 AM not the right time to start the ride, from then left lane was our den, didn’t take any risks. Reached Sira, it was then all the basic checks on the vehicle were done and so do our destination. This is the weekend that 2017 TLT milestone will be achieved, ride to the world famous Jog Falls (Joga). The enthusiasm and the adrenaline that we felt on saying those two words, unexplainable, it gave us the energy to invade all the outcomes.

We decided to stay on the Pune AH47 and not take the Bhadravati route since during the night we didn’t want to take any risks. Decided to spend Saturday at Shimoga and Sunday early morning to Jog falls, we were 300 KM behind Shimoga and we exchanged the ride for every 100 KM’s. In fact my first ride with this machine after 2010. Pulsar used to be a dream for every teenager during mid-2000, and I wasn’t an exception, it was because of this machine the craze on bike ignited in me and I was happy to drive it after such a long time. And also about my beast running on my mind as to how the bike that I hated the most once had become a part of my every day ride and yes, felt uncomfortable for not being on my Milestone journey.

The Crew

Tip-off

  1. Never start a journey at 1:00 am in the morning. Best time to start is after 3:00 and especially for bike riders.
  2. Sagar to Talaguppa watch out for the dogs, they come from no where.
  3. Tumkur to Pune AH after Hiriyur watch out for the rumblers, not so hurting for the rider but for a pillion it is, it is. During night times they are barely visible.
  4. Please fill in your petrol if your taking pune AH and Chitradurga-Shimoga route as there are petrol stations only at 30km intervals.
  5. Carry jerkins as Shimoga is raining all day during monsoon season.
  6. Please avoid Bhadravati route to Shimoga, you can save 50 km here but not the time. The roads are worst and not safe for driving too (especially during nights.)
  7. AH47 well connected with petrol stations and hotels, dhabas so no worries while travelling on this route.

It was 15 KM behind the place where we needed to take the left turn to Chitradurga-Shimoga road, we were in the reserve and we had all the twists for another 45 KM, patience testing rumblers conquered roads, riding in fumes, not speeding the vehicle with petrol level on mind, stopping at every village in search of a petrol station, we were like people in a desert in search for water. We had the relief breadth on spotting a petrol bunk at 6:00 in the morning. Then the ride to Shimoga was simply awesome, a rain hit ride.

7:30 reached shimoga bus terminal. Checked an auto driver for a lodge, found a decent lodge near by the city center, decided to sleep for few hours until 12 PM, get ourselves refreshed, have lunch and start to explore Shimoga.

1:00 pm had lunch and started towards Gajanur dam. Entry ticket of 5 rs and then a bad news as well as a good news was waiting. The bad news was the dam had restricted entry with photographs strictly prohibited, the good news was, the guard was a Tamilian and he was from Salem. Now you can imagine the rest.

Visited lots of reservoir in Tamilnadu but have never came so close to behind the scenes of the dam. Thunga being the water source, this dam has 22 barriers storing the water body which serves for the entire north Karnataka.

Learnt from the guard that Sakrebyle(Elephant Camp) is open only in the morning between 8:30 to 11 am during which the mahout takes the elephant to the thunga river for refreshment. People can visit during this time and enjoy a ride with the tusker too with a ticket, costs around 150 to 200.

Also asked us to try the fish meal in the near by village, which is just few meters away from the Gajanur Dam. We already had our lunch so decided to try fish fry. To be frank it was the best fish fry we have had over times, equal to home made food. No garnishing food presentation, fried in a huge pan, served hot with onions and ginger paste, just yummy

And reasonable too. Two plates, four pieces just cost us less than 200 bucks.

And rain started again, and we too started our ride. Our next stop was Lion Tiger safari.

Timings: visit before 5 in the evening

Our first safari and a best one. The safari will be taken through the forest and will last for an hour. One can spot deers, lions and tigers but no elephants. And yes lions and tigers wandering near the jeep/van you are in, a perfect one.

On seeing the tiger, I wanted to get a perfect shot, went on to ask shall I open the van door and everyone started yelling noooooooooooooooo. Though managed to get have few good shots.

Now coming to Shimoga. This town felt something different from the others, had a native feel of Kerala, raining all day, greenery all around, the silent city, surrounded by water source, people are so welcoming and friendly. Didn’t feel that we were in a new town. And this is how the entire town was surrounded by

18:30 Returned to the lodge and out for exploring Shimoga streets.

Newly constructed city centre,

Roaming in the Town Hall,

Shimoga street chaat,

Wandering in search of a native non veg hotel and finally getting hold on the right one (no for restaurants, since our taste buds are worn out of the restaurant food)

Back to room, thanks to vijay TV bigg boss for making us sleep early 

17 Sep 2017 Day 2 Dream come true, Jog Falls

5:00 woke up, refreshed and sharp by 5:30 started towards jog. And it had rained the previous night the wet streets showed that. Had a hot tea at the bus terminal before 100 km journey.

It was a dreamy ride, it was drive through the forest, we drove and drove and drove before coming to a stop for mistaking a herd of buffaloes to elephants 

Had breakfast at Sagar, went past Talaguppa and finally to see arch saying welcome to the world famous jog falls.

Jumped from the vehicle, moved to the view point, the way was blocked, jumped past all the barriers to reach the point where the mighty Joga was revealing itself from the fog (we were ready to accept the outcome if we were caught by the department officials). The wait was over, planned for 2016 but dropped out, even this year it was almost dropped but we held it at the end and pulled it towards us. It was like a curtain covering the 472 m high joga. Stunned by the beauty, lost ourselves, stood like a statue watching the beauty of joga before a localite warned us this is not the place for you guys to enter, come back. I guarantee no videos, none of the movies can replicate the view that your eyes can witness and feel. It was like our dream come true. A must visit place for each and every person.

IT

The fog adding extra bit of spice to the scene, the falls was visible only for few minutes, and the fog covering the falls in seconds. And we were waiting and praying pls fog unravel the falls we have travelled 500+ km for this beauty. Spent ample time taking videos photos and people moved us back from that restricted area 

Learnt that the point from where we were standing just few meters away the back side of the falls can be seen. And that point is called as Mungarumale (pre-monsoon rain), need to walk through rocks to reach this point, it was because of this point it has been blocked for viewers and the construction to go down from this place has been stopped since mungarumale point is highly dangerous and deaths has been reported. And it was then we both looked at each other’s and said shall we go ahead? Again the localite stopped, saying no guys, this is the specialty of this falls, it will be attracting and forcing one to come and due to exaggeration people have lost their lives. The rocks are very slippery and fully covered by fog, can’t see your feet itself, this is the reason for blocking and mentioning trespassers will be prosecuted.

He redirected to the main view point from where we need to trek down 1500 steps and that will open after 9:00. We still had 30 minutes, so we moved to that location and by the time the gate was also opened. And the walk started, each and every moment during the walk was a mesmerising one. We were hypnotized by the beauty, we are short of words to express our feelings, just, just, just look at the photos

At the end again we met the traveller whom we met at the first view point. He also mentioned two years back there was no restriction, people can go near the falls. But now have put on the barriers and two guards too, watch out for the guards they are ready to pull you out when trying to break the rules.

And the weary trek back started, easily walked down, but getting up 1500 steps was not an easy task. Reached the top and way we went down on the rest area for a power nap after the draining walk. 1 hour of power nap, tried out the chaat items out of jog falls as we planned to have lunch at Sagar.

12:30 bid good bye for the world famous Joga and thanking for accomplishing TLT’s 2017 milestone. In fact jog falls gets the pride for marking TLT’s first year milestone.

13:30 reached Sagar, stopped at a decent north Karnataka hotel, enquired what’s best here, he mentioned fish is best, we decided to go for pomfret fish fry with briyani rice, as he mentioned yes it was the best of that town, the fish had the fresh taste, yummy , but we didn’t stop went for another round of the fish fry. I thought it would cost us 1000 bucks but to my surprise it cost us just half the amount. Apart from Bangalore all the cities have a reasonable price on the cuisine 

14:45 So yes then the return journey started, yet another 414 km to be covered. Changing the rides for every 100 km and stopping by at every coffee shops, having snacks, sharing the memories of Shimoga and Jog 400 km never seemed hectic one. 23:59 we were at our home, a big thanks to the almighty for bringing us safe. It wasn’t simply that we called this as a milestone ride, 950 km in two days, a fully satisfying ride. Last but not the least – Apache, missed him a lot on every moment.

Essential Information:

  1. Sakrebyle Elephant Camp (Shimoga): Open from 8:30 to 11:00 (all days)
  2. Lion Tiger Safari (Shimoga): Open till 5:00 PM in the Evening (all day)
  3. Jog Falls the walk down: Open from 9:00 Am to 5:00 PM, (depending on the weather conditions)

Last but not the least, only the 2017 TLT’s milestone has been completed, still more rides on our cards. Until next time stay tuned.

 

Mahadevapura, The Unmapped Beauty

Best time to Visit: Mahadevapura (all season), Ganalu (Monsoon)

Best to visit in group

Things to carry: Water Bottle and Snacks

Yet another long weekend and again am the only one left over. What else, fill the petrol check the air, charge the camera and start for the ride, when my beast is with me “I know I’m not alone”. Invading the darkness, push between the clutch and gear, shift up ah, what music! the pioneers of engineering have set up, the acceleration – started to feel each and every bit of it. A slight difference on this trip, just followed the direction (south-west) not bothered on the destination, took the Mysore road, crossed Silk City then came the Toy City and also reached the sugar city of Karnataka – Mandya, just remembering the places where we stopped for tea, coffee and photos during Oct 16, 2016  Stopped at Mandya for the breakfast and still unsure why I reached this place? If nothing interesting in Mandya and Srirangapatna then my next stop would have been Mysuru, but thankfully talking to the hotel person gave a fresh and unmapped scenic beauty on my cards. He asked to visit Mahadevapura which is in Mandya District and this place is not known to most of the people as a river settlement. Like he said it’s true, the village Mahadevapura is available on the map but the way to river settlement is not yet identified. This wanted me to visit Mahadevapura, and he also insisted to enquire the local people for the way to river bank.

The Lone Survivor

Mahadevapura
Needed to take a left turn before Srirangapatna, crossed the bridge and reached Mahadevapura circle, from where I needed to find the off road which would lead to cauvery river as per earlier conversation. Enquired about the river settlement and nearly four to five times lost the way ending up in a no man’s land finally a villager guided the route for the scenic location. Yes it was indeed an off road. On the way when I asked is this the right way, the person replied asking are you from TN and then answering my question. But that one question from him had lots of thoughts going within me, but those all faded away with the glimpse of the river appearing.

Overwhelming, just stopped my machine and stood starring the impeccable beauty of nature. Early morning peace, the dawn melodic chorus of birds that syncs with the solid sounding of the water flow and especially there were no people, no forest official to say the do and do nots, free from noise and crowd and the serene was pollution free. A perfect picnic spot, found a huge rock rested all my belonging and off in to the water.

Here is a short 1 min video

Sitting on the rock, immersing my legs on the river flow, allowing the tiny fishes to gently swim over my legs, munching on the snack, a power nap with nothing disrupting the peace of mind. It was a scenic hypnotism.

The long hours of relaxation coming to an end at 11:30. Packed all my things and started back, this time found the easy way to and fro for this spot.

And here’s how,

Cross the bridge, then you see three sign boards as below,

Take the immediate left to the sign board that says hump ahead, and drive for 2 to 3 kilometers until you find another left which is an off road, this will lead to the river settlement.

Ganalu

On my way back came across Ganalu Falls from another villager, decided to visit before Bangalore. A 10 KM drive from halaguru to the left. Came across a group of bikers joined with them for the rest of the journey,

And out of 10 KM, 6KM turning out to be off road and out of that 3 KM to be a challenging one where your machine will be sliding on the fine sand. Ended up at a hydro electicpower generation station most of which were blocked to go through and there was less water flow.

The offroad,

On the return, saw few slopes that paved way down to the water flow, a slightest of hesitation since it was restricted but being stealth is not a new thing. Stopped the vehicle, stealth mode on and in to the wilderness, finally reaching the falls.

Dry Ganalu

Slightest of mistake and this turns out to be the death bed.

Still showing sign of life – Ganalu

But oh hoooo, how to trek back 

As usual lost the way, multiple attempts to get it right, somehow managed to reach the top. Really a tiresome trek it was. Clock striking 15:30 and another 100 KM away from Bangalore. Rested for a while and started to Bangalore.

And also came across the land slide 

Never expected this day to be such an adventurous one, started as a day for ride but it turned out to be a complete exploration. 367 KM’s, 2 new scenic spots explored and the day well spent. This is what TLT is all about.

Chikmagalur – A Marathon-ic Scenic Ride

In deed a much awaited one, planning started with two members finally 9 members confirming for the trip. Though had multiple trips with 6 members, a slightest of hesitation still sneaked through at the beginning. Knew few of them, and this was the first trip with this group.

Day 1 Aug 12:

The plan was Me, Harish, Eubin and Hema to assemble in front of Ezone sharp by 03:00 before moving to Castro place to join with the rest of the crew. Surprising moment was me and Harish assembled sharp by 03:00 (which had never happened before), but there was the exact same delay of 45 minutes as like other trips but this time I was at the receiving end It was almost 4 when Eubin and Hema arrived, a quick intro and started to Castro home without any delay.

The morning scene do turned us on, with the dark gloomy sky, with drizzles filling up the entire stretch, but it didn’t last longer. Reached Castro home, I could see someone gradually appearing on the lights of my beast, his RE was all set and ready like a raging bull to conquer the streets. The entire crew were in one place Me, Harish, Eubin, Castro, Hema, Saru, Roselin and Nirosh with Anbu Kumar to join at nelamangala. A good long chat and the ride started, 5 bikes 8 members.

The Crew

Anbukumar joined us at nelamangala, and then the ride was a breezy cool one until Hassan with grey clouds coming in, sights of rain, no signs of sun bursting out from the sky, waving hands to children who were a passerby before we decided to stop for a morning coffee. Had our breakfast at Hassan and started towards Halebidu. It was midday when we reached Halebidu, a perfect standing example of Hoysala architecture, though we had lots of fun inside the Hoysalwswara temple there were moments where our eyebrows were raised on seeing the sculptures. Pictures will explain the rest.

Our next stop was Belur, reached the temple entrance but were not interested in getting in. On enquiring fellow travelers mentioned to be similar to that of Halebidu, so decided to have our lunch and move to Chikmagalur.

We were 40 KM away from Chikmagalur, on reaching the arch which said welcome to chikmagalur one info stroke on our mind which was shared by Ghost Rider (Eubin) drive at 40’s as police are strictly hunting for riders crossing the speed limit. Initially being cautious for few meter drove within 40’s but it was like having a horse and moving like a tortoise, without any hesitation drove like I always use to do.

16:30 – 18:30 A good two hours wait for people travelling from Coimbatore to join, and this was the time when me and Harish had other ideas to get our vehicle repaired a bit and explore the Chikmagalur town.

Started with the bus stand, went to the park, the playground, flower market, roamed through each and every streets and colonies, what’s with roaming with a local chat, stopped by one of the street side shop for chikmagalur street food, then a board said Chikmagalur Tourism Center, entered in as a tourist but came out as a patient. It had been renovated to a hospital but the sign board still showed as tourism center, took our bikes and planned to return before which we saw a clean and pleasant road, WOW was our first expression, took that road to end up in chikmagalur Grave Yard, it was then our brain realized you fools even the road which leads to grave yard will be silent, we both nodded as “A good sign before moving to the hill top”

19:00 The crew from CBE (Yogesh, Sarath and Balaji) had reached and all 12 members started to the hill top, had passes for all the vehicles and a 20 KM journey to the homestay. It was through the forest, we would have covered 15 KM and from no-where all of a sudden we entered into a place fully covered with fog, yes it is fog surrounding us. Cold breeze, it was like a white sheet covering the entire road and our bikes were fighting through it, spectacular it was.

21:00 Reached the base of our homestay, it was really a challenging one for each and every rider to get his vehicle to the top since it was very steep and completely off road. So first had a walk to the top, felt the scenario and all we needed to do was never pull in the clutch once the bike started to ascend.

The camp fire was lit up, making us warm in the icy chill weather and then the real fun started, notable one was the “Life Message” delivered by Harish and Nirosh, kudos.

Day 2 Aug 13:

Wanderers in the Wilderness

My entire day as a pillion rider. Day 2 a photo day. Especially a day without mobile phone and internet. And the crew with the customized shirts..

Dutta Petta

And Nirosh showing his Photography skills 😀

Bababudangiri

Manikyadara

The real aura of TLT started here, opposite to the waterfall a beautiful landscape came to our sight, few went to have food and rest went for the trek.  It was worth trekking the mountain, at a high altitude it was like talking directly to the nature, free from the crowd, we could hear only sound of the wind and moving mist. Also got the chance to witness two fox, and also a snail crawling through a leaf. A 45 minute rest before descending down. Awestruck and getting lost with the nature.

The Delicacy

Instantly prepared parottas, hot and well suited for the climate.

Back to homestay, back with the entire team, the camp fire, the reunion, the fun, fan base heated arguments from getting mesmerized to Castro vocals, it was like being in heaven to finish Day 2. Wish this day lasted longer.

Day 3 Aug 14:

Homestay Special

Mullayanagiri – A visit to the highest apex in Karnataka.

And Castro adding extra spice to the scene by mesmerizing everyone with his melodies, I am a biggest fan of his songs.

Came across other riders, had a brief chat and learnt that they too were from TN and especially few of them were from my hometown Coimbatore. The pleasure of meeting fellow travelers from one’s own hometown and in that group had a Harish in them 😀 Shared our plans they shared their, wished them a safe ride without compromise on the fun.

Foodie

Charmadi – Into the rider’s paradise

And the most awaited ride, with 15 miles of twisty asphalt, you would think that one turn would be just like the next and the next after that, but Charmadi is not for the prediction, while others were enjoying the curves, I had these pictures of Jul 2016 rolling in my mind on the past ride to this same place, it was foggy early morning then, bright evening now, icy chill then, moderate climate now, raining then, dark cloud spread now, highly challenging to drive on the two way road then, enjoyable cornering in the extended road now. But each and every one were hypnotized during the entire course. I wonder why there is no 6th gear for my beast 

In the meantime Anbu and Nirosh were not been sighted even after crossing Charmadi view point. It was already 19:00, it was then when I shared my thought of me and Harish to go for few KM forward in search of them while Castro, Eubin, Hema and Roselin to move back and wait for us until 20:00 away from the ghat section. When we started Nirosh and Anbu returned, suddenly me and Harish starting to laugh and turning the entire scene comic 😀 while Castro and Eubin …. Their face expression will show the real situation,

Ushhhhhh everyone serious pls….

Then came the BitterSweet ride to Hassan. The route from Belur to Hassan, team experienced paranormal ride, the entire stretch was so dark without any street lamps that even if you’re strong enough at one stage you will start feeling weirdness within you, so naming it the BitterSweet ride.

Reached Hassan at 22:00 checked in at SS Residency, and the real fun started. Censored for riders’ credibility ………..

Day 4 Aug 15:

On behalf of TLT, happy independence day

The Mean Ride

11:00 Started to Bangalore, Eubin had to board his ride to his native by 18:00, so everyone were in a responsible situation, except the two. Reached Hirisave, thought rest of them had already passed us, so on a short notice decided to visit Sharavanabelagola to purchase hand-made stone idols before moving to Bangalore. But that didn’t last longer, as the crew were behind us and told we would plan for a days visit to Shravanabelagola, somehow convincing us. After 10 KM from Hirisave when the sign board that said take right to Shravanabelagola -> 18 KM, without any discussion and slightest of hesitation took the turn and dropped a message to the team. We wanted something as a souvenir from the trip to be carried to our hometown, and I believed Shravanabelagola was the right stop, from my past experience. As simple as the saying goes “you need to sacrifice one for the other” and we both believed the rest of the team will not take us wrong and they will understand us.

A thought going on our mind while driving from Shravanabelagola that we will not touch base with the team, but somehow managed to join at Nelamangala toll, as they were waiting for our arrival. While chatting, a drop of water was sensed, everyone starring at the sky eagerly waiting for the rain and our prayers were answered. Not more than a second there was a heavy down pour, but none moved for the shelter, few with rain coats and few removing the rain coats started the ride back towards Bangalore. Nothing can match the immense pleasure of riding in the rain. For the rest of the ride as a thanksgiving the sky showered its love in its own way. Ride finally coming to an end, never expected of such a fun trip, this team will be remembered for all the entertainment provided, thanking each and everyone for this success.

Each and every ride has its own learning and message and we have learnt it. Until next TLT stay tuned.

Pondicherry, A Thunderous Independence Ride

Independence Day for my Thunderbird

Yes, you read it right! This is truly the Independence Day for my RE thunderbird since it was not let out loose in the highway since I bought this bike. Thanks to Koushik, Founder TLT, for inspiriting me to go for the first ride. Here is a brief about my first ride.

Packed my bag and left Chennai at around 6.00 AM. The weather was fantastic and the cloud was dark enough to have the headlights on for sometime. The clouds did not burst into rain luckily as I was worried a bit about riding in the rain. Took the ECR route since it was the safest after the recent 4 lane upgradation. The road was butter smooth and easily was able to manage a top speed of 110 Kmph till Mahabalipuram. The real enjoyment started when I took a right turn from Mahabs towards Pondy. After 15KM ride, the roads were completely covered with trees and it reminded me of Sathy Road in Coimbatore. Enjoyed each and every second and slowed down the bike to 40-50 KM. After another 15 KM was a beautiful Bridge to cross Palar River. There was no water but the bridge was awesome.

Suddenly there was a Royal Enfield Convoy of bikes, with Indian Flag hoisted. The thump and roar it gave was mind boggling.

At 75 KM had the first stop at 8.00 at Alamparai Fort. This fort was built some 300 years back and all that remains are the ruins. It is simply mesmerizing to know how the rulers were able to construct such marvels in ancient times. Have to say that the Fort is not well maintained. Did not expect this to be in such a bad shape but still worth making a visit. Left the fort after half an hour and resumed my ride.

Entered Pondicherry at around 9.20 AM and reached Auroville at around 9.45 AM. Yes, it was my dream to visit Auroville since the day I knew about Pondy. I feel one must be really blessed to visit this place. The nature at its best with a wide range of flora and fauna, the birds chirping to a tune, the whole ambience and vibration was out of the world. Aurovillians and foreign tourists were roaming around the streets of Auroville in their hired two wheelers. One could rent a bi-cycle or a two-wheeler in a day or hourly basis. Parked my TB at Auroville visitor’s centre and began walking towards the information centre. Here comes the surprise:

A 10 minute video about Matrimandir was played and I got the Free pass to view the Matrimandir from the viewing point. To enter Matrimandir one has to register and get the pass the very next day. From the info centre to the viewing point is a two KM walking stretch through the woods. The stretch is completely green with a lot of flowers and herbs. The roads are fenced to ensure one does not go on a trek. Matrimandir looked stunningly awesome and it the golden sphere looked like a Sun on the Earth. After spending 15 mins, headed back to the parking space.

Left Auroville and began heading towards Pondy city. The city was superbly clean.

How can one leave Pondy without visiting Aurobindo Ashram. I felt very lucky since it was Sri Aurobindo’s birthday on August 15th.  What a coincidence! There were around hundered people meditating around the Samadhi but I felt as if nobody was there. There was pin drop silence.

Down Rue de Temple Manakkula Vinayaga or Manakkula Vinayaga Temple Road is the famous Manakkula Vinayaga Temple. The temple is well maintained and was very clean. It was full of crowd and had a darshan far from comfort. Generous prasadam was distributed. A lot of devotional items are available in the shops outside the temple. Stated moving towards my next destination.

Reached Pony Museum but was closed. So, parked my TB there and began walking around the Park. The White Town is a very beautiful place and full of French architecture. Visited Gandhi Statue, Dr. BR Ambedkar Statue, Rock Beach, Dupliex Statue. The Promenade, was the best out of the lot and it looks a lot similar to GTA VC. One big mistake that I had committed is by walking the entire stretch in the hot sun. Should have easily taken the bike around. Went back to the museum to pick up my TB.

The next stop was at Auroville Beach, the Beach is peaceful and one of the best beaches in Pondy. It was 3.30 PM and I had one more place to be visited. Yes, it was the Pyramid Natraja Temple – Sri Karaneshwar Natraja Temple. It was built by Aurovillians and again a breath taking architecture. Realized the importance given to yoga by the Auro community. Packed my bags and headed towards Chennai.

 

The ride back was very comfortable since it was evening and the temperature was around 26 deg. What else do you need? Yes, Petrol. Searched in Google maps and found out the bunks in Pondy. This was the first time my bike had a tank full. Cruising at around 90 KMph, reached home by 7.00 PM Sharp. It was a really good first ride on my Thunderbird. I really felt that I made a good decision by not relaxing at home during the Independence Day.

Testimony from Admin:

With this all said, the greatest achievement is when others get inspired by your work and begin to do it. On behalf of Harish it’s my immense pleasure to welcome Anantha Krishnan in to the world of TLT, and a wonderful narration, taking me into the scene, wishing more fun explorations at your end. Keep riding and keep blogging.

Muthathi, Left Unexplored

Featured for: River Settlement

Recommended for: Family/Couple (Not for Travel Enthusiast)

The trio are back and this time with the ride to Muthathi settlement. It has been a habit riding through the Kanakapura road and the ride was as smooth as a river flow.

The Crew

By 7:30 reached the entrance of Muthathi reserve forest where a security guard checked our vehicles and warned not to honk or stop anywhere through the course of 14 km journey through the reserve forest. We didn’t honk but “don’t stop anywhere” became “stop everywhere”, the climate was adorable with dark clouds moving in and making it a perfect day. The road was not so friendly with potholes in every few meters, but that didn’t affect as the weather and surrounding kept us more involved in admiring the nature.

After crossing 12 KM mark, the first glimpse of water body was started to be seen, WOW was the expression on the first place, we were ready to stop our bikes on the road sides and walk down to the water, but decided to move forward to check out main view point. In a kilometre we reached the parking space, parked out vehicle and huge disappointment struck on all our faces. It was a complete mess all over the river bank, plastics, bottles, clothes and wastes spilled all over. We even questioned did we drive over 120 KM to witness this mess?

Stood for a while before taking the charge, there were sign boards saying prohibited area, moved beyond that, there were even wire meshed up with thorns, crossed through all the barriers, to witness the beauty of cauvery, no crowd, no plastics, no mess, looked around for a place to rest.

Saw a huge rock under a tree, a perfect hide out we thought, but didn’t last for long, a strong whistle, we were spotted, with the stick in hand a guard shouted to come back. We had no other option rather than to stop our proceeding and get back. Then another guard came, said it is highly restricted place bla bla bla, we told we will leave but the guards told come with us, we are not going to leave you guys alone. It was like we were protected by black cats in front of us, reality we were the suspects. Warned us to stay within the limits, we acknowledged and reached the main entrance. This was our first trip where our stealth mode didn’t workout 🙁

Went in right and was caught by guards, now let’s move towards the left and we will walk until we are caught again, but we are not staying in the view point. We went for some distance, beauty was revealing itself, there were small island kind of land separated by water bodies, decided to cross it and from no-where another guard appears. Pretended to be as taking photos and waited until he lost our attention and moved away, then we made our move, crossed the river and moved to the other side. Tried to get in the water but it was really shallow on the other end, that was the moment when we realized a localite who said this place has long history of unexpected depth of water and anytime the water flow can increase. So decided to stay within our limits, spent ample time in the water flow, resting on a tree branch, chatting about how this place has not been preserved before leaving.

Though it was supposed to be a natural feast, individuals has turned this place to be a messy feast and the guards making it more difficult to explore the water body. Just one can go visit the temple, witness cauvery from the river bank but not a weekend getaway location.

Highlight was when we took our bikes and started the guard who caught us initially stopped us at the checkpost and warned “You guys shouldn’t stop anywhere on the way and get into the water.” We acknowledged by saying no sir we won’t, thank you and left Muthathi. To conclude Muthathi, A scenic beauty with over exaggerated guards and irresponsible tourists.

Kabbaldurga, Such a Heavenly View

Featured for: Trek

Difficulty: Challenging

Trek Distance: ~7 KM

Things to Carry: Trek shoe must, Water bottles, ample amount of snack (carry less since the trek is very challenging)

A trip that seemed to be along with the group to the trip turning out to be a lone one. Had the idea of having the tag line as lone survivor, but the beauty of nature outlasted the other. This is how it all started, decided to travel in the caravan, and Friday evening car getting cancelled, and people in the trip too getting uncomfortable one after the other and backing out, finally leaving out with two members, Koushik and Harish. It was up to us to decide, left it to Harish to decide and he too felt it would be good to cancel since he felt tired due to post couple of days work. Acknowledged him since I don’t believe in forcing a person, it is all up to his own comfort zone. But I was still in, said the same to Harish on reaching home, he told even he will join, I acknowledged alright it depends on the morning situation. Next day morning 4:30 the alarm went off and Harish was in deep sleep, so I just wanted him to be in the same state and realised am going to be on my own this trip. A much awaited one and after a long time. It is exactly the moment when a plan gets cancelled an unassailable plan starts to build, Kabbaldurga one of the Navadurgas.

The Lone Survivor

Luckily had my jerkin as the steady rhythm of cold weather started to drum a lullaby directly while riding through Nece road. Riding through kanakapura road was mesmerizing, seemed to had rained the previous night, the scent of rail soil filling up the atmosphere with the canary-yellow sun rays bursting out of the clouds, the steady theme of the beast like a streamlined butterfly along with ARR musicals, didn’t feel as if it was a lone journey.
Had breakfast at Kanakapura and also packed some food this time (experience gained from previous journey), and started towards Kabbaldurga. At 7:00 reached the base of the trek, the initial look at the trek was like me standing in front of Gulliver the giant. It was a huge rock and people call this as a mountain, this is only for mountain climbers and not for intermediate trekkers like me. Also had the question ringing up in my head will you be able to trek this all alone? Take some pics from the bottom and turn back, make this as a ride.

Came all this way and no photos of the trek, then this day would turn out to be a funny one for others especially Harish. So decided to trek.
The Initial Stretch was quite normal, seemed to be manageable. Moving further things got worse, pics will speak the rest,

There were moments where I lost the path, ending up in front of a vertical rock or a smooth inclined path where even standing would be difficult. There were even narrow path where even if you see up front and back the trek seem to be impossible. Took rest for every 15 minutes, a person without patience will never be able to conquer this one. Few moments where I thought of quitting but the verses from coldplay Army of one is going to fight for you. The mountain has lots of safehouse kind of setups by nature, well suited for quick rest.

At one moment there was a path similar to a curly one, this was where I made new friends Anil and Nagesh (both were named the same), and they were descending down, had a good long chat before moving forward. Learnt that the destination is 100 mts ahead from them, a sign of relief.

On reaching the top, the view was mind blowing, a one way path through the green field. Long green grass filled up all the way leading to the peak. And from the peak the view was …. “Such a Heavenly View”

There was a temple around and couple of abandoned forts, spent ample time at the peak lying down on the rocks and getting lost looking at the moving clouds and dancing weather before descending. And descending was easier but needed to be careful ono each move. 12:30 reached back to the parking space and later started back to Bangalore.

If one wants to get his/her entire organs refreshed, go trek this beauty, this trek is equal to 3 days at the gym, 1 week of jog and two weeks of morning walk. This is a test of ones stamina. At the end one more trek for the blog TLT.

Rasta Cafe, Drive for a Cup of Java

Like the saying goes “Last night I wanted to drink coffee, this morning I am drinking coffee. Follow your dream.”

Open Days

Tuesday – Friday
Timings: 9:30 PM to 4:30 AM
Note: Not open during morning hours.

13 Jul 2017 After a tiring day at work, reached back to home and surprising to see Harish in the living room, his end of the day is usually 23:00 hrs, so something weird that day and from then, only weird things happened. Clock striking 23:45 and the state was like asleep at the wheels when Harish suddenly interrupted with indistinct laugh saying, come let’s go out and have a cup of tea. I thought that he was making fun and didn’t give much attention until he meant it for the second time. It was already quarter to 14th July, and suddenly I replied why not for a night drive? Without any hesitation Harish nodded come lets go, we were not bothered about the destination. Main objective was to have a cup of tea, then came the drive, this made us to decide the location. Harish we are going to Rasta Café at Mysuru road. He enthusiastically shouted am ready, let’s start immediately. Invited Nithy, his reply was “I have office tomorrow morning, let’s plan on the weekend dude.” Fridays even our office are working only, we will return before 5 in the morning. Nothing convinced him, but we both didn’t want to backout.

Exactly by 00:00 14th July started the journey. On the way we wanted to check with Anil too, but the same reply we got. So didn’t force anyone, decided we were on our own this trip and my first as a pillion rider.

The Ride

On reaching nice road, it was like stepping in to the black, nothing seemed to embody the new freedom driving in the late hours, and night enhanced the simplest pleasure of solitude. Though being a pillion rider I could still sense the pull between clutch and accelerator, the glide from third to fourth and to fifth, seemed to free our mind, riding at night is similar to a world of your own definition.

On taking the turn at Mysuru road traffic seemed to be like on a normal day, our chat also had conversation that said we thought we were the only ones driving at night, but now we realize there are fools like us too. Later they vanished leaving us alone, roads turning liquorice black with the vehicle lamp enlightening the way.

1:45 reached Rasta Café. Parked the vehicle and moved forward. It was quite a decent place on the highways. The environment was quite good enough free from pollution, and a good place to hangout with friends to try out every Italian cuisine. Spent ample time at the café over a cup of morning coffee.

3:30 Started back to Bangalore and a good long chat, such that we were not aware that we had driven for 1 hour almost reaching our home. This was the first drive where we didn’t feel the boredom on the return journey, nights are perfect for driving, bringing out the soul within you.

A night well spent, morning are for work nights are for ride. 120 KM drive for a coffee, seems really weird but “No matter how serious life gets, you will consequently need the company of people whom you can completely be stupid with.”

Thotikallu Falls (TK Falls), A Hidden Beauty

Featured for: 

Difficulty: Challenging (Not recommended for lone travellers/couple)

Things to Carry: Trek shoe must, Water bottles, ample amount of snack

Best time to Visit: Monsoon

A short drive for a reason, a bit difficult one to choose a destination within 60 KM, couple of minutes to think and chose Thotikallu Falls (TK falls). Members getting together after a week break and the notable one was Anil taking his brand new beast RTR 160 first time for the ride, and Castro joining in. A new member in the crew as well in the ride.

The Crew

Since this being a short ride, decided to start a bit late than usual at 5:00 AM. Start of monsoon and we were able to sense the fresh windy cool and crispy breeze gently flowing through. Me and Harish starting from Marathahalli, Anil to join at BTM and Castro at Banerghatta road. Took the Nice road till Kanakapura junction, stopped for a morning coffee, a usual stop when there is a new member in the team, introduced and a good long chat before leaving to TK falls.

On our way we were discussing are we on the right path, there are no signs of falls and there were question raised for choosing this place. By 7:00 we reached the entrance of TK falls, could see few bikes parked, and made sure that we were not the only team to be there, since this place has a long history of thefts and illegal activities. Just few meters in front, there was a temple, and hardly few steps ahead, off road started.

Needed to go through the forest, no sign boards, no path, to say it was similar to man vs wild. The first glimpse of water flow was seen (with the previous experience of mekadatu, we decided not to expect anything). Climbed through rocks, between bushy thorny crispy bushes and Castro vocals adding spice to the situation. Each and every moment was a picturesque spot. It would be treat for photographers.

Reached the bottom of the falls, water flow was less, but the surrounding kept us more involved such that we decided to ascend to the top. On reaching the top, a breath taking view, we were standing on the huge rock, to the left, to the right the entire scene was like someone had spread a green sheet all over the place.

Spent ample time at there on the rocks, taking pics, resting and neglecting for missing out to carry snacks for this trip too. Everyone use to carry a bag pack but it would not have anything other than water bottles. We also saw a big tree and its branch was stretching like an arm, a perfect picturesque spot. It was hard time reaching the branch but worth a photo.

Rested our feet in the water, few rested on the rock – we were hypnotised in a moment, with the mild sound of water flow and the countless beautiful leaves whispering to each other. Again it was when our tummies started to knock and reminded us “hey there please pay kind attention to me, you guys remember to fill petrol for your bikes but always forget to fill food for me”. So started our trek back. If we had packed food, it was a perfect getaway for a weekend.

And the trek back was really challenging, three to four times we lost our way ending up in reaching the same place where we had started. In a moment we even questioned are we lost in this forest? Really it was a thrilling one. Moved in all the direction and somehow managed to find our way back to the entrance.

Finally had our breakfast on reaching the main road at krishna sagar and returned back to Bangalore. A decent location for a weekend getaway, explored by TLT and a suggestion, it is advised to go in a group. This place is secluded and there is no security too, better to go after sunshine and return before sunset.

Chunchi Falls, A Secluded Waterfall

Featured for: 

Trek Distance: Approximately 4 KM

Difficulty: Challenging (if trekking down to the fall) or Straight Forward (to the view point)

Things to Carry: Water Bottles, Snacks, Trekking shoes

Best time to Visit: Monsoon

Clock striking 2 AM, dragging us into the day we had been anticipating for, it’s the start of the weekend and so do for the getaway. A long weekend where most of the fellow travellers moved to their hometown but not for we 3.

The Crew

2AM scene, the darkness is almost absolute, the rich velvet blanket of black sky, smattering of luminous stars and the chillness swallowing up the day, nothing more to expect for the ride.

The Ride

3:30 Me and Harish started from Marathahalli, to pick up Anil at BTM then towards Chunchi falls.

The plan was to take nice road till Kanakapura, then follow the route which leads to Sangam.

Driving in nice road and Kanakapura road is like driving through the heaven for a rider, the entire stretch with yellow and red beam of road studs that illuminated the invading darkness, casting a myriad of shadow upon the asphalt.

Stopped at Kanakapura for a morning coffee before moving forward. Needed to go through villages and the last few kilometres, the Tarmac was not good enough. 6:30 reached Chunchi falls. Parked our vehicles and the first view showed us even this place has been hit by summer badly. But there were water spotted, so had our fingers crossed while getting down to the falls.

Knew that need to trek down for a kilometre and on reaching, there were two official restricting the entry down to the falls, they told we are not supposed to go down as it is being restricted due to dangerous path and pushed two of the other travellers back, asked us also to go back. We acknowledged them and waited and waited and waited until the officials went from the spot. We 3 had the same thought in our mind of going down to the falls, starred each other and the next moment without any hesitation we started to move down. We get more excited when people ask us not to do something.

There was no path, need to literally climb through the rocks and find your own way. Highly challenging, a single mistake and down you go sliding on the rocks. Need to be very cautious on each move.

While we moved further, the first glimpse of waterfall started to be seen.

Almost half way through, the waterfall was uncovering itself slowly, like the curtain being raised on a stage. We had to wait to reach the base, around 20 min descending downwards the entire chunchi falls was visible, marvellous Arkavathi. The water was gushing over the rocks, and at its widest point it was surging and plunging down the mountain ending up in a beautiful serenity pool.

To the left to the right, standing on the rock had a 360 view and no one were spotted other than us. It was us and the waterfall.

Moved further to our right to get into the water, found a perfect spot near a small tree, rested our bagpacks, shoes and sat on the rock resting our foot in the river. The water was so cold, at the early morning it wasn’t a surprise.

After a while came out of the water, collapsed at the rocks and let the burbling sound of water flow, morning sun rays, tree shades to do its magic. Had a good long chat, and also had a power nap on the rock. No disturbance, no distractions, it was just us and the nature, simply superb.

It was by 9:30 when our tummy started to knock for food and we realized we need to trek back.

On the way back got up the tower which was supposed to be the view point, entire Chunchi falls could be seen from that altitude.

There are small shops setup by localities, food is okay and manageable. After having our breakfast, learnt that sangam and mekadatu are on the way, 14 km away, so decided to visit.

The first sight of sangam made us think why did we end up here, there was no water, it was completely dry. And one of the forest official told go to mekadatu, need to take a bus that will take to the waterfall. So tried it. The bus leads to the view point, and the official at the bus will walkthrough the path which he calls it as the waterfall. The bus will wait for 30 min before taking back. According to our point of view it wasn’t worth visiting, since there was no water and the place was commercialised, infact we spent 200 bucks to have a 20 min power nap at mekadatu. It would be good during the monsoon.

With that said, yet another successful exploration at TLT, returned back to Bangalore.