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.

Huthridurga, A Maze Climber

Featured for: 
Trek distance: ~8 km
Recommended for: Trekkers
Difficulty: Moderate
Best time to visit: All season but make sure it’s not raining
Things to carry: water bottles, snacks

Core TLTians getting in for the ride and its a trek, after 60 long days and this time its Huthridurga one of the Navadurgas. The initial plan was to trek Makalidurga but while surfing the night before the journey it was mentioned each person need to pay 450 to the forest department to trek , Harish replying there should be no history in TLT of paid trekking, let’s look for other trekking spots. With just couple of hours remaining the pressure was on. And after lots of search Huthridurga was finalised, just for one reason the name was enthralling.

3:00 This time Harish being the alarm. This was the longest refreshment that we had taken over all the 20 trips 1hr, started by 4:00, picked up Jobince at Bommanahalli at 5:00, the best part was Jobince still wasn’t aware where we were travelling, and when he heard Huthridurga, Makalidurga alias Huthridurga ?? Me replying, No we dropped Makalidurga, then he just replied go somewhere but we are reaching Bangalore in the evening right??  Good rider and a good companion to be with.

The Crew

Reached nece road, got the toll pass till Magadi Road and the hypothermic ride started. Chillness showing no mercy, body temperature started to fall, hands almost frozen, teeth chattering and harish suggesting pls stop in any coffee shop, am… no we are shivering here. Stopped at magadi for the tea, words were not coming out, harish asking are we getting old?? Why are we shivering then?? 

I even went on to feel the heat from my engine, but of no use even it was running cold 

8:30 reached Huthridurga village, my eyes spotted thatte idli (karnataka famous breakfast dish) in the shop were we stopped for a small break before the trek. It was too early for breakfast and we also don’t want to fill our tummies before the trek. The first view of Huthridurga, and the conversation was, okay guys we will eat thatte idli as much as we could and return to Bangalore. Superb, a better idea was the instantaneous answer came from the rest two.

It’s been nearly 2 months since we have trekked, so we were less in confidence. But we decided let’s give it a try and test our stamina. No matter what it takes we are gonna trek this beauty today.

Way to trek (betta)

Needed to drive over the hill for nearly 2km, you reach a village, then find this water tank,

Near to this a muddy road will diverge, you can also find a government school at the start of the road. And in few meters you can reach the trek spot. Park your vehicle either near the school or drive through the muddy road and park in front of the trek spot.

The Trek

And then we started our trek. The rocky structured entrance remembered me of something ancient. We also lost our way on reaching the first hill, moved to the right to the left but still couldn’t find the way, we also trekked back to the village to ask for the way. I learnt from the villager after reaching the first hill, go to the extreme left where the fort ends and there you can find the narrow way.

Trying out the trek video in first person prespective

And finally we found it. Then the same on third one too, but now we were into the scene, our mind started to work and finding the way got easier  it usually takes some time for my brain to analyse and respond accordingly

The trek was weary and tiring, hot sun draining us every second, zig zag steep movements over every fort. But we enjoyed it, tested out our stamina. We just had two stops not more than 5 minutes on the entire trek. Quite good, we still had that same energy when we use to trek most often. It remembered me of the tomb raider game scenario.

And on reaching the peak of the betta, off we went down on the shades of the temple mandap. Power nap time

Readers ask me why power nap on all the trips. The answer is simple “we don’t sleep much the previous night before the journey” eager and very anxious on the upcoming trip, we take each and every trip as our first.

Munched on with the snacks we carried then went to the opposite side of the temple, the entire way covered with bushes reaching our height, I went first, to explore. It was a breathtaking view, I went in too far that I wasn’t able to hear my friends when they shouted my name from the other end. So when I came back, I saw them marching towards me. And they shouted y didn’t I reply for their shout. I was like did you so??  anyway come here guys the view is simply awesome. You need to see it. And the photoshoot started. But needed to be very careful a single mistake and you will be dropping yourself over 5000ft.

To be frank we had our nerves shivering when we reached the cliff, still managed to smile for the photos.

Clock striking 11:30, started to descend. 12:30 we were down, bidding good bye to Huthridurga. Went on to ask for thatte idli in the same hut shop, the guy was hey it’s lunch time. Very bad missed the village thatte idli , we had seen dhaba on the way so decided to check in there for the lunch.

Hunger was pinching our stomach, after finishing our lunch, our mind knocked and told you guys forgot to take photo of the recipes 

On the return back Jobince learning how to drive my Apache, he’s good in driving a car but not in bikes. His hands feeling the bars of a bike for the first time. As every one used to be even he struggled in 1st and 2nd gear but on the higher gears he was good damn good. Me being the pillion teaching him on gear shifts, how to use the clutch on different situations and how the clutch acts as third brake, the dos and donots, he told till 10 km he will drive but since he was good and it was a NH left him to drive for the next 30 km, a good break for me and enjoyed the pleasure of being a pillion rider before reaching traffic hit Tavarakere (he was when I told you drove 30 kms, that’s how you feel when you drive a bike, no words to express, it’s just you and the machine) Jobince handed over the bike to me and said next I am gonna buy a bike not a car.

16:00 at nece Road, a sudden change in climate, chatting with Jobince, see the beautiful weather and my music player too is playing the right song “yeno vanilai maruthey” from AYM and I have you as my pillion rider  with all the fun reached Bangalore, from morning 5 to evening 5 with same spirit.

We are The Trail Less Travellers.

Marching towards the end of 2017, not sure how many more trips are under our belts, but we have our fingers Until next trip (hopefully), stay tuned and keep following.

Horsley Hills, The Empyrean

Recommended For: All age group

Best Time to Visit: All Season, Sep – Mar (Perfect Time)

Got pulled over with long trips over the previous month, now back with short trips, a day trip of 310KM. And the vintage TLTians joining for the ride to Horsley Hills.

The Crew

Swamy -> Pulsar

Koushik, Jobince -> Apache

Harish, Anil -> Apache

This is the first time for a short trip starting location was at my place, Marathahalli, it also triggered the lazy part in us. Anil from BTM reaching Park Plaza by 3:50, Swamy from Electronic City reaching in front of Innovative Multiplex by 4:00, in the meantime me, Harish and Jobince were still getting ready. But it didn’t take us more than 5 min to start and join with them. Checked for the route and this is the first time we are travelling on the route.

KR Puram -> Hoskote -> Muddenahalli -> Chintamani -> Horsley Hills

Filled petrol near to Hoskote toll, had tea and a brief talk and off we started towards our destination.

And the drive to Chintamani was a pathetic one, for every 5 KM we need to hurdle with the speed breakers and battle with the high beams of cars and Lorries. High beam are the nightmare for bikers during early morning and night drives. It was at the first speed breaker I had Jobince flying in air, from then on he started to be cautious and tapped me to say speed breaker ahead slow down way before 300 mts  46 KM of weary journey reached Chintamani, stopped for few minutes, sharing the moments of Harish being a pillion rider for the first time, while talking I checked the oil level of the Pulsar and the shocker again the level was too low , but the last service date showed as 13 Oct 2017, not even a month and how the oil level is low? And Harish being Hilarious, this time we have two Apache towing will be easier.

7:00

Harish – The Pulsar Quality Inspector [Taking Charge]

The next 30 KM were worst, filled with potholes, narrow roads, water lagged off roads quite challenging. Its then when we realized we should have gone through Madanapalli instead of the shortest route. It is then when we stopped for a break, Harish new avatar as the Pulsar Quality Inspector, taking the Pulsar for a spin coming back and stating the difference in sound is at the first and second gears, will manage for this ride but not on long term, need oil replenished ASAP. A good thing was within 200 mts, my eyes were able to spot a mechanic shop and refilled the engine oil and off we went without any worries.

8:30 Reached the base of Horsley Hills, we thought that the beauty of the hills might have vanished by now, with slightest of hope we ascended and miracles do happen, we were completely surrounded by fog, a sudden fall in temperature, are we in our dreams, the curves, the chicane, the fog what else a rider needs – Enchanting ride, expect the unexpected.

9:00 Reached Horsley Hills, the first sight was on the AP Tourism. The entire scene was like A vast blanket of white hung heavy over the hills. It suffocated every building and every tree at their base, swallowing every distant object and vanishing around every corner and the fog loomed as far as we could see, it was almost tangible, shrouding everything in a thick white veil.

Moved to AP Tourism hotel for the breakfast, buffet breakfast, Rs. 101 per head, food was served hot and was good too.

And off for the exploration.

Three view points

A Zoo

Children Play Arena

First View Point

The Frog Rock

Second View Point

We wanted to explore so off we started to descend to check how far it leads us too. Crying loud at the mountains and hearing back, the most number of echo we were able to get was 4.

At the end a powernap at edge of the rock

Trek back was the hardest part. Tested our potential to the extreme, it’s been a long time since we had trekked. Found it very difficult, it also had one of the TLTian feel sick for next 20 minutes.

Horsley Hills is just a circle, Jiddu Krishnamurthi Statue marks the center stage. All the way leads to this statue, so there is no need to worry on losing the way.

We are followers of Jiddu Krishnamurthi “We maintain that truth..”

Children Play Arena

AP Tourism Stay

You can book at APTDC website

1500 for one cottage and can accomodate upto 4-6 members.

14:30 Our tummies started to ring the bell, time for some lunch. We decided to try out other hotel away from Horsley Hills and about 15 KM of travel our nostrils got hold of the aroma, Swamy and Me slowed down the vehicle and exchanged words “Did you smell what I smelled?”, Harish coming from behind yelling, hey there was a dhaba why you guys didn’t stop. Turned our vehicles and landed at the Dhaba, it was quite okay, had a hut kind of setup a typical village dhaba and we needed to wait for nearly an hour to get a ourselves into the hut.

16:00 With our tummies full, we all were ready for our return journey. But just after few KM it was a complete downpour, it was then when I remembered when my mom called in the morning and warned about the weather. Rain didn’t have any mercy for us, bad roads, visors getting covered completely with water, barely able to see the road but our fun didn’t stop, intentionally revving our bikes on stagnant water splashing on bikes.

18:00 Crossed Chintamani, rain had just stopped, a relief breath but not for long. Again the downpour, the scene became completely dark, it was very difficult to drive with the opposite vehicles on high beam reflecting on our water hit visors, we three were one behind the others following the tail lamp as a trail.

The Most Unexpected Scene, we all were shaken

Came across the disaster, Swamy was heading in front, followed by me and Jobi, and then Hairsh and Anil. Just few meters ahead of us (hardly 200 mts) suddenly there were wreckage seen on the road, it was a bike, Swamy stopped, so do me and so do Harish. We all jumped down from the vehicle and ran to the biker, he was down holding his leg and crying. We also heard another sound crying out help, I thought that it was the biker family.

Harish, Swamy and Anil rushed in search of the person crying out for help, in the meantime I cleared his vehicle away from the road and had his left indicator on, it was an FZ, clutch went up side down and the front doom totally out of shape, the scene was completely dark wasn’t able to see either of our face clearly. Pulled him up, enquired about his injuries, he replied have hurt the leg. Then I saw Swamy, Harish and Anil picking up a small boy, his belongings and learnt from him that he has lost his way to his hostel and was walking in search of the village. He was literally crying and the worst part was blood pouring out from his mouth and the heartbreaking moment was when the boy tried to fall on our legs and said please help me reach my village. Harish and Anil got hold of his parent number and had a talk, while the biker managed to hold his nerves and told he is from this place I will take the boy to a nearby village and get him to a hospital and then leave him where he needs to go. Anil got the biker mobile number then I checked his bike only the front doom has been damaged, clutch was okay, asked him are you good enough to drive, he acknowledged and we put the boy on his bike, cleared the way for him and off they went towards the nearby village.

After that we 5 starred at each other for a minute or so, fear had struck on all of us, only answer we had was lets not revv hard lets drive in 50’s. With just few meters I stopped in front of a Tea shop, the rain was getting heavier, and the scene that we had witnessed we thought lets wait. Then the talk, we were already driving in 75 to 80, he was ahead of us, sure he would have been in 85 KMPH, but there were lots of vehicles passing by no one even had a chance to slow down and ask what had happened and whether we needed help? This made us wonder where is this world up to? Suddenly a car flew up to one feet going through the speed breaker at top speed. We all said guys time is just 18:30 but it’s like 21:30 let the rain stop then we will drive, all matters is our safety.

30 mins of wait, rain stopped, wiped our visors, we 5 were confident enough and then we started towards Bangalore.  20:30 Reached Bangalore, with all the happenings as a lesson, bid good bye to each and every TLTian on this day.

Until next time C U.

A day in Penukonda

Readers this post is not about any trip and neither do the photos, this post is to let you know what would happen if the vehicle is not checked before a long journey.

The trip was to Gandikota, Andra Pradesh and the entire TLTians gathering for this trip. Had a bit down of confidence level while driving the Pulsar, mistaking the difference in sound from front disc resulting in spoil sport of the trip.

8:30 43km ahead of Lepakshi, Andra Pradesh, FZ marching ahead, followed by Apache and the Pulsar. Had an eye on the Pulsar in my rear view mirror since the doubt was quite alarming. All of a sudden Pulsar was out of my view. I slowed down from 100kmph to 50kmph, stopped at the RTO check post, waited for a min, with the speed we were in Pulsar should have reached me within a min. With the benefits of doubts, took out my phone and as I suspected I had a missed call a min back. Called him back and yes, his voice told “my Pulsar had given up”. We would be just a KM separating us, just to alert, he advised me to have my headlights on, as I was about to drive in a wrong direction on the NH. Even I had no thoughts of it since my mind was questioning myself what would be the cause.

When I reached the spot, my first check was on the Engine oil. Took out the tool box, with the spanner, managed to open the engine oil opener, he yelled out, hey it’s full of smoke coming out. Alright then it’s oil the suspect, let’s check the level, found a stick near by, let it in and took out, no difference. It was completely dry, and the core was red hot. Checked the gear, stuck at neutral, engine seize confirmed.

Informed the fellow riders on the situation and enquired for a near by petrol station or village. They told they will check and call us back. In the mean time learnt what happened in real time, suddenly the engine power got down the good thing that he did was he pulled in the clutch breaking the tension on the engine and managed to pull the vehicle to safety. Presence of mind matters. With that said I saw a check post nearby decided to tow till there before reaching out for help. Learnt from the official that Penukonda village is a KM away.

On reaching the junction saw a small mechanic shop, he asked us to go to the village since he had no equipment’s.

9:00 reached the mechanic shop. Explained the situation and mentioned there is a doubt on engine seize. He also confirmed that and started to work on it. Initially even he thought that only the engine had seized and he would make it ready for the drive but there would be slight smoke coming from the silencer and the engine bore needs to be fixed on return. Fellow riders reached us, time was just ticking on 10:30 and it was then we decided that we will fix the vehicle and either get connected at Gandikota or we will return back to Bangalore. Everyone were disappointed but because of one the entire crew should not be disturbed. With two of us staying back the rest of the crew continued to the Grand Canyon.

11:00 Engine seize released, oil filled, the mechanic tried to start the vehicle. No signs of life from Pulsar. He told us need to open the bore to check. In those moments the rider face reaction showed the rest, never seen him so tensed like that before.

Mechanic told the bore has been damaged, the ring has been broken, and the head that connects to the piston is also broken. The only question I had was what’s next?

       

He told need to replace the bore. Me asking him for the cost, replied as 2600. We were cautious on it since we had limited fund with us, month end crisis . He checked for secondary bore in his shop and fellow mechanics but they were not matching the Pulsar version. We asked the mechanic for any available service centres and shall we try it. He guided us and when we said our situation, he advised us to bring the vehicle and when asked for the estimate

Bore 2200

Lathe work 1000

Piston —

Timing set up 500

Engine fitments 400

Oil 350

Labour —

And bla bla bla the estimate was around 10K. We were what?? The mechanic told its enough to change the bore, but your saying lots. He told its risk and the vehicle would not even cross 80km distance you guys can’t even reach Bangalore. We both are not an expert when it comes to engine work, we were in dilemma. We also had a talk to transport the bike in train and take care at Bangalore.

I remembered my friend Leo George, he’s in Chennai and good when it comes to these situations. I called him and explained the situation, he just replied confidently change the bore and the vehicle will be perfectly fine. The mechanic is right, in the mean time service center guys are trying to earn from your situation. Proceed with the mechanic decision itself.

12:30 With that said I went to the mechanic and asked will everything be fine on changing the bore? Brother 100% I guarantee you this bike will be back to normal. Nothing else I spoke, just asked him on the shop name and phone number and off we went to Hindupur, 70 km to and fro from Penukonda for the purchase.

Hindupur Anji Automoblies, all genuine Bajaj parts, no bargaining, strict at the MRP rate. We were worried on the cost as per the list, thank goodness total was within our budget, 2873. Then we went to Omkar lathe shop, to fit in the new valves, 30 min wait time 180 cost.

Refreshment in the mean time, Dawood Juice Shop 

Sharing the thought, had no idea of taking my Apache for the ride as I wasn’t in complete shape instead to share the ride as a pillion, but I still don’t know why I took my Apache in the morning for the ride. Also investigating on the seriousness of the damage, we realized it was not because of this 150 KM, it all started on the return journey from Jog Falls where the same sound was heard.

15:30 Back to the mechanic shop handed over the new kit. He also showed us the broken pieces that he found inside the engine. We were tired, back to the mechanic shop was a government school, and off we started our power nap. I slept for 2 hours, on the other side he wasn’t able too.

With the new valves fitted – Lathe work

17:30 Fighting hard with the piston head to clear the path for the ring to move smoothly over the piston head. This is where it took time, had a brief talk with the mechanic, he belonged to Penukonda and 22 years he had been running this mechanic shop. 18:30 We were back after short break, the engine started to get its shape,

Timinig setup

Pulsar tasting its fresh set oil, the final touch.

20:30 The first sight of Pulsar getting life and so do for the rider.

21:00 After 12 hours of battle, we were praying, mechanic with full confidence started the vehicle, Pulsar was back. He took out for a test drive and back again, tightening the chains, brakes and few stuffs and handed it over to the rider, he took out for the spin and a huge smile, finally the Pulsar was all set for the ride.

With the crew that worked on the Pulsar.

The service charge he asked was 1200, we didn’t bargain since we were aware of the truth, gave extra 200, if for others it would have taken a minimum of 2 days but this guy just killed it, completed in 12 hours by understanding our situation. Happy and with full satisfaction handed over 1400 to him, hands of a clean money. Everything that the service center manager told this mechanic did inclusive of genuine parts at the right price. From an estimate of 10,000 to a working machine for 4453.

Since being the new bore the mechanic asked not to rev high until first oil change, got all the advice and just before leaving asked the mechanic shall I take this bike for 1000+ KM ride , he replied, this is a new bike now drive to the extreme I assure you on its performance. 21:30 A big thanks and wished goodbye and started our journey back to Bangalore. 150 KM driving within 50 KM speed, even our engines were not getting heated up with the chillness, it was freezing out, wearing two shirts to battle with the cold, chatting while driving – in the morning per minute we travelled 1.8 KM now we are travelling just 0.8 KM per minute and when a biker crossed us with high speed we used to see each other and laugh, that laugh had a long history behind. Finally Oct 29 2:30 Reached Bangalore.

Essential Information

If your vehicle gets stuck anywhere on the Hyderabad NH check your maps and if Penukonda is within reachable, just give a call to this guy

Mechanic Name: Babjaan

Phone Number: +91 99480 17059

Just sit back and relax, your vehicle are in the good hands, a 22 year experienced hands.

Lesson learnt, primary checks on vehicle is mandatory like engine oil, brakes, air, clutch wires, chain stability and always don’t rely on service centres, they are just like the Bird of Prey waiting to prey on our innocence. All the happenings were like a planned one, pulsar stopping just 2 km away from Penukonda, me taking my vehicle for the ride, we two were the only riders without pillion, finding the right mechanic. Thinking back of the entire day is just astonishing.

A black day in TLT.

Other TLTians had a great trip by the way, we were a readers of Gandikota unfortunately wasn’t a part of the memory.

Munnar, Spine-tingling Journey

This is the second ride with this crew, and whenever Biju visits Coimbatore it turns out to be a complete entertainer of a ride (anyway he visits only once in a year). Like last Diwali trip, this too had its similarities, planned to Valparai but visited Thekkadi and Munnar and the second round trip.

Oct 21 5:30 Right in front of our home, had a camera bag that’ it and all set for the ride. Looking at each other, okay guys where are we going, we three just starred at each other for few minutes, still not sure where we are travelling and Biju suggesting, first lets go to BPCL Coimbatore Lorry owner petrol station fill our tanks and then decide in which direction we need to proceed. Filled 14.71 lrts of petrol combined together, Yogesh suggesting Thekkady and a short 2 min discussion and our destination was set, Thekkady. 275 KM from where we were standing, checked the route, via Dharapuram, Oddanchatram, Theni and Thekkady.

The Crew

Compelling, that dawn marked the start time for the ride which hadn’t happened before. Back at Bangalore starting the ride too early to avoid traffic made me miss the real beauty of early morning ride, the view was breath taking, sun peaking above the horizon, sky shining brilliant blue, with the fields still wrapped in their morning blanket and the first rays of sun reflecting on the blades of windmill stretched all over the field, making our morning ride beautiful.

Just after few kilometers of crossing Theni, Vodafone network nodes alerting on entering Kerala and the sudden change of Climate alerted us yes this is going to be the coolest ride ever, we were in Idukki district and the entire stretch to Thekkady, Kumily was a rain hit ride, what else a rider would expect for after burning himself in the hot sun for nearly an hour, and music garnishing the ride, it was like heaven on earth.  No photos this time of the road, instead a short video, sit back and enjoy (video with the same song as the playback during the ride )

Reached Periyar National Park, needed to board a bus to visit the national park and the boat ride, lake too. It was already crowded and we were not interested to visit the national park, so checked with the locals for other place to visit in Thekkady, they redirected to Pandikuzhi. It was an enchanting view point for nature lovers, and photographers delight too, if not for the fog to disappoint you. People said don’t make an attempt to move to the rock as it is raining and it is very slippery but being cautious we took the risk. It was quite frightening but whats the thrill without taking that one extra step, its now or never.

Clock striking 14:00, decided to drive to Munnar, 100+ Km from Thekkady and map showed as 4hr 35min to reach Munnar. We all laughed and said, Google is funny today. The moment we started, there was heavy drop of water, it was a downpour, with no place to hide from the rain started our journey. It was the ride through the Western Ghats, driving here is completely adventurous, going through tea estates, steep curves and zig zag tracks, being a narrow road one needs to be very cautious while driving here and rain adding extra bit of challenge for the rider. It just kept on going round and round and round, a roller coaster of a ride.

I have been to the Ghats in Karnataka, but after riding here, they stand no match to Munnar. It was almost 17:00 the weather was worst and darkness started to invade us, and we still had 10 Km to reach Munnar, but again there was a surprise waiting. The shortest route was blocked for maintenance and the diverted route had an extra 15 Km added to reach Munnar, and it was still raining, it wasn’t just a rain, it was a downpour. With no other option left we took the route luckily we came across a sign board saying take right to Munnar 9Km. From there the ride was like pleasurably thrilling one. It was a drive through a private tea estate and extremely steep one, within 5 Km Honda Unicorn gave up, at one stretch even at the first gear it failed to move further, me being the pillion rider instantaneously jumped from the vehicle while Biju was fighting with the steep and I was standing back and enjoying the scene. On the other hand RE showed its stability, it was a butter smooth ride was RE. Honda engine was overheated we had to stop for getting it cooled down so that the next 4 Km can be covered. We also had a discussion to tow the unicorn by tying it the RE 

Moment when Honda gave up

The scene became completely dark and we were like left in a no man’s land, no lights, raining, we were completely wet and not sure we were in the right way or not. The next 4 Km was a thriller, what’s next was the question running in our mind, loved it to the core. Coolest ride ever, ever ever ever.

Yes this was how the visors were while driving

Reached the resort and checking online price of the stay before booking 

18:30 Reached Munnar, checked for the hotel to stay, since it was impossible to drive. Mobiles too were drowned, speakers giving up, the effects of rain. The biggest challenge was we didn’t carry any spare clothes. Thanks for the towel and bed sheet provided, that were our costume for the rest of the night. Had a good long chat before going to sleep (riders credibility )

Day 2, Oct 22 Exploring Munnar

8:00 Prayers chanting in the nearby temple was alarm for us. Pathetic way each one were 😀 ——, still our clothes were wet, bright sun was up and shining, had all our clothes out and we had to wait until 10:30 to get it dried up.

First sight of Munnar it

11:00 Munnar has list of places to visit in all the directions. List below,

       

We chose the Coimbatore direction, being holiday season most of them were crowded, managed to visit few and also capture the nature beauty on the way. The Western Ghats beauty was unravelling itself in the morning,

Useful discussion, hopefully

The twin red beauties

Icy chill Lakkam Waterfall

Drive through Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary was a finest ride, peaceful one there’s nothing but the rubber of our tyres rolling across the road to disturb the wildlife. Shhh. The Ending moments of Ghat Section.

We are not supposed to stop anywhere on the way through the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and guards were very strict on it. Crossing through couple of checkposts we were out of Munnar. Had our lunch,

And off to Coimbatore via Udumalpet, Palladam. Diwali holidays well spent, 2 days with family and two days with friends. Started the ride with no plans went through a thriller Saturday to end on a Peaceful Sunday. If you’re planning to Munnar for a days trip, do carry a spare cloth because Nature has other plans for you.

Until next time, c u.

Sivanasamudra, A Fun Thrilled Ride

After a month break, the group that sprouted TLT is back, yes Anil, his beast and my beast are back again, this time it’s towards Sivanasamudra falls.

Oct 14 Clock striking 3, Me and Harish started from Marathahalli to BTM where Anil was supposed to join. It was indeed a long break since we had met Anil, a huge smile and hug on seeing him back normal. And not only that this ride marks the inauguration of TLT tags on each bike, not sure whether it is a coincidence or planned something new in TLT and that happens with the presence of 3.

The Crew

Again on towards Kanakapura road. It was cool, windy early morning yet dark, the darkness fading away in the lights, the rain-kissed tarmac, and all three were riding their own comfortable machines after a long gap which just sparkled a fire inside our guts. Simply amazing.

Felt irritating due to these cars coming in the opposite direction. The cars were in high beam, even though we gave a signal by lowering our lights these guys never mind it, we were like   The truth is during those situations, the roads will not by visible, we either need to keep track of the white line at the extreme left to know how the road goes on. Here in kanakapura road, there are no white line at the left, we needed to have sight of the centre white dotted lines and calculate our drive, pathetic behaviour. To be frank, the truck drivers lowered the beam when we gave a signal but the *&*$% cars, not even a single guy had a thought of lowering the beam, not sure whether it was the immaturity or thinking themselves as a supreme power on the roads 

Stopped at kanakapura for the morning coffee, half way through to sivanasamudra.

7:00 Sivanasamudra – Bharachukki falls and Gaganachukki Falls, both were separated at a distance of 10 KMs, we decided to visit Bharachukki Falls first. We were too early, the gates were closed, I remembered being here the last year, fingers crossed that the way to go down should be opened this time.

We still had 2 hours left, so went into the village in search of breakfast, found a small shop in the village, started with vada, Harish asking me to enquire whether breakfast was available, me confidently replying breakfast wont be available, so ordered vada, then the person asking us do you want to taste our idly too. Harish looking at me [emoji], and me [emoji]. Thankful to the shop guy, a perfect breakfast.

8:15 Still an hour left. I knew there is a coracle ride available, so we went to the place and with my Kannada speaking skills enquired for the coracle ride and placed a deal. It wasn’t a new experience for me, but Harish and Anil loved it, slowly moving in the coracle in the morning sun yet to shine, mild weather, birds singing over the trees, sound of the river flow, exchanging the experience of how long it has been riding in a coracle, heavenly feel. And the coracle person greeting us with a 360, enjoyed the whole 30 minute ride.

9:00 The gates were open, while taking pass itself the guard informed us you guys can’t go down it is blocked. Oh not again, the beauty can be viewed from the view point only. But we had other ideas, we three looked at each other and said are you thinking of what I am thinking?? We nodded and said alright lets explore the place and find ourselves a way. Bharachukki from the view point,

We spotted the place for our camp, Harish told we need to go past the field. No more talking lets get into action. And we moved away from the crowd, walked and walked and walked there were huge wire barricades all the way, almost tired we stopped at a rest place and started to sleep before a guard waking us and enquiring us. It was almost 11:30, we decided to go trek to the falls, took our bikes, found an adjacent muddy road that was running parallel to the paddy field, after couple of km parked our vehicles and stealth mode on. We were into the field and suddenly Harish saying its’ not worth moving to the falls, we would destroy the crops, we can reach the falls but this place is already protected by number of guards what if we were spotted? Don’t know what would happen. Anil was so cool, he was still ready to move. Somehow convinced Harish and within few meters we stopped again and we were back, didn’t take a chance. As simple as it was “We were afraid”, for the first time ever. With the likes of stealth mode at Chunchi Falls, Mekadatu, Muthathi, Avalabetta it was Sivanasamudra showed what fear was 

At least the photos of the crops

12:00 Decided to visit Gaganachukki falls, the other side, Bharachukki and Gaganachukki are just like the front and back of the falls. The view was mesmerising but sun played a major role, we thought we should have visited Gaganachukki first.

Clock at 13:00 agreed for lunch at the near by restaurant.

13:45 The restaurant was surrounded by lawn on all the sides, moved to the lawn, had a long chat and powernap started. This also started a discussion in TLT group, is powernap during a trip bane or boon. We three agree with powernap a boon.

15:30

Started back to Bangalore. A slightest of confusion while returning, the blaming game,

Finally I was the victim Harish being the victor, I redirected confidently in the wrong direction. At times even great people make mistakes 

This trip was nothing more on the exploration, it was more of a get together and for the ride, to summarise Sivanasamudra is good for a family trip and for sightseeing, not much for travel enthusiasts if not on the restriction to trek down.

Until Next time, stay tuned, Happy Diwali.

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.