Sunday, July 27, 2014

Conquering Munnar!

Dear Readers,

This blog is dedicated to all the bikers and to the people who want to get inspired to sit on the saddle to ride for a million miles. Through this blog, I want to convey that nothing is impossible. The fears which exist in our mind about a lot of things stops us from doing those things. We need people who can really push us to do things which always fear of.

To give you a basic framework of the blog, I will divide the blog into three parts i.e. Introduction, passion and beauty. So we shall start with the first part. 


Munnar is town located in Kerala (God's Own Country), which is known for its scenic beauty in terms of tea estates, mountains and weather. Munnar is rated one of the best motorable roads in India as far as scenic beauty is concerned. After finishing Rameshwaram - Dhanushkodi on my bike, now the next target for me and my friend (Vidur) was Munnar. Although, it was in our thought process but never came up as a priority but this time it was banging the doors of our brains in which our riding instincts were waiting to be unleashed for a thrilling ride! 

Riders & Bikes:

Vidur - KTM Duke 390
Raman - Yamaha R15 (V1)
Adhip - Pulsar 200 NS 

Destination: Munnar, Kerala

Distance: 1000 kms (approx)

Dates: 18 April 2014 - 20 April 2014

We were prepared for this ride and everything was ready. Bags packed, leave applied and gas is full. Then came the last minute trouble which will be shared in the second part of the blog i.e. called PASSION.


People have their own definition of passion and bikers are passionate about riding motorcycles. It is like lion tasting blood and the hunger never ends. I have bought a new bike (Pulsar 200 NS) which replaced my Pulsar 150. Just a day before the ride in the evening, the handle of the bike had some issue which worried me in terms of safety and to my disappointment the service center was closed. So I had no idea what to do. I spoke to my friend and it was decided that I will get the handle repaired next day. They will leave as per the scheduled time and I will ride solo to Munnar. This was something which I had never done and I was determined to do it. So, on the first day of the ride I reached the service center at 9.30 am and the problem was fixed.

I had done my packing a day before and simply loaded the saddle bag on my bike. I was ready to go!

Google maps indicated two routes to Munnar from Bangalore. One route was via Dindigul and other route was via Erode which was shorter. I chose the shorter route and the same suggestion was given to me by my friend. The ride started by hitting the Hosur Road towards Chennai at around 11.30 am. Once the bad city roads were over and I was rolling on smoothly on NH 7 doing an average speed of 90 kmph. Since I did not have breakfast, so I made a quick halt at McDonalds, Shoolgiri and stuffed myself with junk food. It was sunny and hot, so I made sure the water level consumption was the maximum. It took me around 3 hours (around 200 kms) to reach Salem. Before reaching Salem, I saw a sign board indicating 'TURN RIGHT' for Erode, since I was riding alone, made sure that it was the right route by asking people around. This road lead me to Bhavani and while on the way I clicked a photo.

I crossed Bhavani and hunger was killing me. So I was looking for a decent restaurant to eat lunch and found a dhaba called "Punjabi Dhaba", expecting daal and roti but the only thing available on the menu was chicken biryani. After finishing the biryani, I headed towards Udumalaipet via Pollachi. People on the way were very helpful in terms telling me the directions. I reached Udumalaipet at around 6 pm and took a water break. I thought now Munnar from will be around 75 - 80 kms. Suddenly my friend called me up and told me to hurry as I would be crossing the Annamalai tiger reserve in the dark. I had no knowledge about that because I did not see the map properly. Anyways after the short break, I started riding towards Munnar and saw a sign board indicating Munnar is 100+ kms far which came as a surprise to me. 

It was pitch dark when I reached the police check post just before the beginning of the reserve forest. A formality had to be completed i.e. to register to yourself at the check post. After doing that,I started riding in the reserve forest. It was pitch dark, ghat section, roads were bumpy, no network and not even a single street light was there on the road. There was jungle on both the sides of the road and there was a huge probability of a wild animals crossing the road especially elephants and leopards. There was no traffic coming from the opposite direction so I decided to switch to high beam. The headlamp of my bike is simply awesome, I could not believe that it was so bright. Subsequently, it was easier for me to ride and to my comfort there was not traffic. My mind was full of excitement and fear as I never even thought I would do this. It was a big risk which I took but remember if you don't take risks in life, you will never go to know what life is!!!! There were couple of cars behind me and none of them wanted to overtake me. As I was negotiating through the forest reserve, I grew in confidence and kept my pace in control to avoid unnecessary trouble to the so far comfortable ride. My bike's throttle had a good response and I never lost momentum on the turns in the ghats.

I could not see the tea estates since it was dark but could visualize the beauty of the place in my mind for the time being. After riding for almost an hour, I finally reached the destination Munnar at around 11 pm and started searching for the hotel. Suddenly, I saw a man running towards me shouting something which I could not figure out since he was far. I thought something is wrong and went far from him. He was still running behind me and when he came closer to me, I came to know he was shouting "Room". I thanked him for the offer since I already had a booking. Finally, I reached the hotel namely Hotel HillView. I entered the hotel room, dumped my luggage, ate food and jumped into the quilt. 526 kms done alone! Wow! What a sense of achievement! 


The next day we woke up and it was already overcast. Me and my friend Vidur went for a walk outside while Raman was still sleeping. I wore my riding jacket itself since it was cold and I did not get a spare jacket. We started clicking pictures. 

There was freshness in the air and it was comfortable. Finally, we had conquered Munnar! The agenda for the day was to capture the beauty of the place for which we had come. We got ready and had breakfast in a dhaba near the hotel which served South Indian and English breakfast. So, I had the opportunity to eat bread omelet which is my favorite when it comes to breakfast. We relished the food.



After having breakfast we started exploring the place on our bikes and some of the pictures we clicked. Have a look!





We explored Topstation and while on way we clicked more and more pictures which I will be posting simultaneously as I am typing the blog. I stopped everywhere and tried to click pictures as much as possible. The blue skies and the lush green tea estates were absolutely stunning. Such scenic beauty is meant to be captured and at the same time appreciated. After clicking substantial number of photos, we decided to go back to the town and have lunch. Our demand was non-vegetarian food and we found an apt target called Rapsy Restaurant. The waiter could easily gauge our hunger to eat lunch. We had lunch and went to the hotel slept.

We woke up in the evening and went to the dhaba to drink coffee. The dhaba wala also served some snacks and our evening past loitering around like this. Raman woke up late for the evening tea. The owner of the dhaba was more than delighted to serve us!!! 

After having dinner, we slept and woke up next morning fresh. It was time to go back home and I was the one who had no clicked much pictures, so had the urge to click more photos while on our way back. My fellow riders wanted to start early and cover maximum distance. After getting ready, we cranked up our engines and headed way back home. Even on the last day also it was drizzling. I will be posting a lot of pictures below for your eyes. 





Heading back home, we stopped somewhere near Bhavani and I requested Raman to give me his Yamaha R15 (V1) to ride because I had not ridden this bike for a long time. Hence we switched. I rode this bike for about 30 odd kilometers and believe me it was pure magic.

Our trip ended with one last coffee break at Cafe Coffee Day somewhere on the highway (NH 7). It was hot and a bit humid so thought of taking a break. 

After I reached my home, I clicked the concluding picture of the trip. A special thanks to Vidur and Raman for being an integral part of this memorable ride. Pulsar 200 NS just amazing me by its performance and handling. This motorcycle is a revolution!!!!

Cheers! Ride Hard and Safe! Stay to my blog and I will posting more and more about our trips coming in the future.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Beyond insanity: Rameshwaram - Dhanuskodi - Kodaikanal

Dear Readers,

This blog is dedicated to all the motorcyclist who travel to lot of places and are crazy about riding bikes.

Bikes used: Bajaj Pulsar 150 (2007) and Yamaha FZ 16 (2012)

Camera used: Nokia Lumia 720 and IPhone 5

One fine day, me and my friend were randomly surfing internet and started searching for some place in Google Maps. Suddenly my friend prompted me to look at the state of Tamil Nadu and there is a small piece of land protruding out from the main geography. On a zooming in the screen, the name of the place was Rameshwaram and ahead of that, at the tip was Dhanushkodi. Spontaneously we decided to ride to this place on our motorcycles. This complete activity was done last year i.e. 2013 but never got the time and leaves to fix up the dates.

Finally we did fix the dates in 2014 which were 6 Feb 2014 to 9 Feb 2014. Super thanks to my manager for approving leaves and ofcourse my friend Vidur for suggesting such a beautiful place to visit. I never ever dreamt that I will take my bike to a beach and this will be a reality in the few days time. 

Now that the dates were decided, saddle bags had to be purchased because for the first time I and my friend were going for such a long ride. We both purchased VIA TERRA bag (Claw) from Lets Gear Up, Bangalore and as far review of this bag goes, it is mind blowing. I also purchased some additional spares parts and a medical kit. We also packed a few snacks for our journey. Bikes were serviced and checked. All set to proceed for me and my friend’s longest ride till date. 

 These are some of the photographs I took while preparing for the ride. I started preparing for the ride a week back. The VIA Terra Bag is quite spacious and I could easily put a lot of things in the bag, still there was space left to be consumed.
 After the packing was done, I did a trial run by loading the luggage on the bike as this was the first in my motorcycling career that I was loading luggage. No surprises, I was not successful in my first attempt, so I called up my friend. Finally through his guidance, I was able to tie the bag to the bike. After that, I rode the bike for 100 m to 200 m and it was good to go. Going back to the bed, I had set an alarm for 2 am and had also kept my phone on loud so that even if I miss the alarm, my friend will give me a call and I will be wide awake as if I never slept.

Day 1 (6 February 2014)

Deep down inside my sleep I was hearing some music continuously repeating which was actually my alarm and then my friend called on my phone to wake me up from my dreams. I got up at 3 pm, rubbing my eyes and stroked my messed up hairdo with my fingers. If you are a biker, you will understand what is the joy of getting up early in the morning is seriously unexplainable!!!!!! I got ready in 30 mins. Luckily I had done the packing last night to avoid the last minute rush. In 2 minutes I loaded the bag on my bike. Cranked up the engine for idling which is important for any ride you go. Always do idling of your engine. 

My friend reached my place at 4 am and we started our ride by 4.15 am. With 600 kms to cover in a day, there was excitement and fear in our mind. Riding on the Hosur Road is one nightmare because only limited section of the road is well lit, plus pedestrians cross the road and the road quality is not that great. While you are exiting Hosur, you will come across a lot of diversions on the road. Once the diversions are over, the road becomes smooth. As far as the climate is concerned, it was freakin’ cold man!!! Even after wearing jacket and gloves, I was freezing. After riding for about 40 kms, we made our 1st stop at CCD and had coffee. 

With coffee in our tummies, we decided that our next stop would be Salem which was 200 kms far from our current location. I had read a lot about this city in G.K. books when I was in school and never knew that I would be riding to this place on my bike. We continued to ride on Kanyakumari road (NH 7), the road is mind-blowing and really smooth. Once we reached Krishnagiri, we diverted towards Salem. At some point of time I started feeling sleepy as the road was so straight and comfortable. To keep myself awake, I shook my head once or twice. In between the route, a Ghat section comes but the quality of the tarmac again went down. The tarmac had smalls cuts due to which the bike tires were slipping, so I had to slow down and wait for this section to get over. 

Finally, we reached Salem and found a very decent restaurant which served typical South Indian breakfast i.e. Dosa, Idli and Sambhar. We had Dosa and Sambhar, also ordered filter coffee. The coffee charged us for the next session of the ride which from Salem to Madurai which is around 180 kms. We started from Salem towards Madurai, the highway was simply beautiful, so we stopped to click photographs as well. 

 As you can see the photograph on the left hand side, the road is absolutely magic. So I stopped and clicked this photo. In addition to this, the scenic beauty around the highway was mesmerizing.
  This photograph is being taken from a different angle. NH 7 is one of the most beautiful highways I have seen in India. Now if you see the map of Tamil Nadu, we were actually dissecting the complete state in one single day. We were getting close to Madurai. I presumed that it is a small city and we would easily navigate through the city. I was completely wrong because once we entered Madurai, there was no bypass and we were not really sure which road went to Rameshwaram. So we started asking people for the route from the city. The traffic in the city was terrible and anything was coming on the road from any side. At the same time our hunger was increasing. My friend asked one of the traffic cops for the route and we followed that. Finally somehow managed to get out of Madurai. We stopped at some random restaurant for lunch and there was nothing except Biryani which was absolutely pathetic in taste. Anyways, hunger had won so ate like a wild animal. After finishing lunch, we proceeded towards Rameshwaram and traffic was smooth. So, another 150 kms to cover and our destination was not that far.

We made a pit-stop in the middle, while on our way from Madurai to Rameshwaram and clicked the above snaps from my phone.

The ride was really breezy and it was not very hot compared to what we were expecting on our trip. As we were coming closer to Rameshwaram, the vegetation also changed gradually and that typical smell of fish started coming which indicated that we were near the coast. After 3 to 4 hours of continuous riding from Madurai, we reached Rameshwaram. The sea coast was visible to us on the right hand side. The moment I saw that I turned my bike towards a small beach and parked my bike there. I stood tall looking at the sea water telling myself what an achievement!!!! :)

This is my bike parked on the beach and friend clicking photos. What an awesome moment. The excitement multiplied when I saw the ultimate "Pamban Bridge" on a distance. We jumped on our bikes out of excitement to reach that bridge. Just for knowledge I would like to say that, this bridge connects the mainland (India) to Rameshwaram which is actually an island. The second thing which connects this island to the mainland is a railway bridge. I cannot describe the beauty of this place in words. You have to visit this place and see it through your eyes. I will post the photos now. 

The sky was absolutely blue and we parked our bikes on the side. Looked over the bridge and the water was sparkling blue. I think the sea water on Goa is not that blue compared to this place. We had seen this bridge in photo posted on a Facebook page by some random group which was an aerial view click but still I would suggest the reality is sweet sometimes. So more clicks:

Never I had dreamt on my life that I will bring my motorcycle to this place and that too from Delhi. 

DL 3S BF 5554, you rock! I am telling you, people were surprised to see a Delhi bike in such a place and lot of people asked me whether I have ridden the bike from Delhi to this place. 

Just look at the sky. Simply serene and beautiful. Probably one of the reasons why people prefer to ride a motorcycle. Someone has truly said that "Four Wheels Move the Body and Two Wheels Move the Soul"  

If you talk about the climate, it was not at all humid and the good breeze was blowing. A wonderful experience. This location is worth multiple visits and after this Pamban bridge. There were more surprises packed for us. I am posting one more photograph of the railway bridge which was running parallel to this bridge.

We entered Rameshwaram at around 4 pm. As usual we did not book a hotel in advance. Randomly chose one hotel with an AC Room which was not required. The hotel was simple and decent enough to stay. After throwing our luggage in room, we just hit the bed as we were tired. This was my and my friend's longest single day journey on a motorcycle (600 kms +). We slept for a couple of hours and woke up fresh. 

We inquired about Dhanushkodi Beach which is about 18 kms from Rameshwaram but you cannot take your vehicle (two wheeler or four wheeler) because of two reasons:

  1.  There is no parking for vehicles
  2. Once the road ends, it is just beach sand in which it is next to impossible to take your vehicle 
You have to book a jeep which will take you till the end of the land. We decided to book the jeep early morning for 4.30 am as we wanted to see the sunrise in the horizon and wanted avoid the usual tourist rush. We had our dinner in a restaurant which served North Indian food. After dinner we took a walk on the deserted roads of the city. Back in our hotel room, we slept. 

Day 1 ends!

Day 2 (7 February 2014): Off to Dhanushkodi
We woke up to our alarms and got ready for the jeep drive. The receptionist had informed us that the jeep has arrived. We just went without getting ready properly. The drive in the jeep was amazing as I was traveling in a jeep after a so many years. It was pitch dark and the driver was like a general knowledge for us. He told Dhanushkodi is small place where there is no power supply and no facility for transport. After a point the road finished and it was all beach sand. Me and my friend clicked a lot of photos while the jeep was going through the sand. Enjoy!

The sunrise was just mesmerizing and I had never witnessed such a sunrise in my 24 years of life. I think was the best till date. The driver took us to the old Dhanushkodi town which was washed away in a cyclone in the year 1964. He showed us the ruins of the railway station and church built by the British during their regime. Some of the photos of the ruins. 

"The old railway station platform destroyed in the cyclone"

"The old railway station platform destroyed in the cyclone"

"The below mentioned picture shows the ruins of the church which was washed away in the 1964 cyclone."
The driver also told us that the point at the which beach ends, from there Sri Lanka is 30 kms far. We also saw the floating stone in the temple. The photograph is below:

Unbelievable, but it is a reality!!!!!!

Some more photos we clicked:

The jeep in which we came to Dhanushkodi. 

The sunrise special photograph. Simply beautiful.

The jeep ride got over and we paid the driver Rs. 1200 but you might feel this is too much. It is worth every penny. Post this, we decided to have breakfast i.e. Dosa and Sambhar, somewhere outside along with filter coffee, the best breakfast you can have being in South India. Post that explored the market area in the city which was not much of significance. We had lunch, came back to the hotel & slept. We decided to go back to Dhanushkodi in the evening this time on our bikes to get some more clicks. While you ride towards Dhanushkodi, you will see water on both the sides of the land. The one of left is a bit darker as it is Bay of Bengal and the right hand side water color is blue because it is Indian ocean. Interesting and weird too! 

There was which going to a temple and on both the sides water was there. I parked my bike in middle of the road and click these photos:

The below photo was clicked by friend while he was on his bike: (way to Dhanushkodi)

I parked my bike on the left side and jump on the middle of the road to click the below photograph which is the road to Dhanushkodi.

We reached Dhanushkodi beach which was completely deserted. Not even a single soul was there to appreciate the beauty of this place except me and my friend. We clicked a lot of interesting pics.

The waves were not violent at all. We enjoyed on the beach and sat down with peace far away from hustle bustle of the city. At the end of the day a person wants peace and that is what we got in this place. 

Our 150 cc engines were parked along the road and I think they had also found peace here

My friend walking into the wilderness!

Earlier in my blog I had mentioned that I witnessed the best sunrise ever of my life and yet I witnessed the best sunset of my life in Dhanuskodi (2014). Posting one pic of that as well which will include me as well clicked by my friend. 

This is the end of Day 2. Back at our hotel room, we went into a discussion mode that what should be our next destination since 2 more days were days were left. The pre-decided location was Kanyakumari but I was not willing to go as we had seen beach and that to one of the best. So the next destination was decided Kodaikanal.

Day 3 (8 February 2014): Rameshwaram to Kodaikanal - 300 kms!

I rode to the sea coast and now it is time to rise above the sea level. We left Rameshwaram in the morning around 7 am and halted a dhaba for a nice breakfast. 

We started to Kodaikanal which was 283 kms from Rameshwaram. Again we had to go through the Madurai traffic which as usual was not the good part of the ride. Once we crossed Madurai, then caught up with NH 7 towards Bangalore. Just 40 kms before Dindigul, there is a diversion towards left which goes to Kodaikanal. At beginning of the hill ride, we stopped before the check post to drink water. The cops at the check post thought there is something fishy with us. They stopped us and checked our papers which were there with us. One cop got surprised after seeing my bike which is a DL Number. We continued our ride and hill climb began. The twists and turns were good enough for leaning and finally after riding for 60 to 70 kms from the check post we reached Kodaikanal and it was chilly up there. We booked a hotel which looked good from outside but inside it was not very impressive. In addition to this what put us off completely was the fact that there no lunch since they had booked it for some corporate clients. We went to a restaurant just opposite the hotel known as Kodai International and it was good. We had lunch there and came back to the hotel. Lunch was too heavy and feel asleep very fast.

The day ended with a decent dinner and watching some unimportant channels on the television. The third day ended up like this. We were not able to explore the city as we were tired and wanted rest. The fact that we had reached Kodaikanal was good enough to make us satisfied. 

Day 4 ( 9 February 2014): Back to Bangalore! (400+ kms)

The last leg of our journey started a bit late. I mean we were not in the mood to leave early. We left Kodaikanal at around 10 am. Again that hill ride for about close to 70 kms. After that we reached NH 7 and turned left towards Bangalore. We stepped on the gas and were doing good speeds ranging from 75 kmph to 100 kmph. I am posting a few pics of the highway

Bangalore just 400 kms away!


We stopped for lunch at some restaurant, where I realized that I don't have cash and I need to refill gas in my tank. On highways, petrol pumps do not have a card payment facility. After lunch our next agenda was to find out an ATM. The search did not take much time and we were able to locate one. Finally tanked up and raced towards the destination Bangalore. Once we reached Salem we took a tea break at the same place where we had breakfast at the start of the journey. Post that we continued riding to Bangalore. The fatigue started kicking in my body when we were close about 100 kms from Bangalore. My back was straining slowly, so we decided to take shorts breaks in between. 

Finally we reached Bangalore at around 9 pm and were totally exhausted. I reached my home early because I stay in Electronic City which comes on Hosur Road but my friend had to travel another 30 kms to reach home. Once I reached home, I got an amazing sense of achievement that I did something which looked impossible or was just a dream for me. I made it a reality. Special thanks to my friend Vidur who placed this 'keeda' in my mind. It is one of the most memorable trips of my life I ever experienced. We covered about 1300 kms over a period of 4 days. The bikes performed exceptionally well through the tour.

It is a great start to the year 2014 and we planning more trips this year. Please stay tuned to my blogs. 

(Ride Hard, Ride Safe)