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Old 25th June 2011, 18:20   #16
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Awesome pictures. Single handed, you managed the ride and the shots which are really pleasing to the eyes. Awaiting to read the rest of the days experience.
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Old 25th June 2011, 19:39   #17
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe1980 View Post
Awesome pictures. Single handed, you managed the ride and the shots which are really pleasing to the eyes. Awaiting to read the rest of the days experience.
Thanks Joe. Glad you liked them Would post the remaining day's log by next week!
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Old 26th June 2011, 14:58   #18
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Default Day 4: 06 -June-2011 ---One Crazy Ride!

Day 4: 06 -June-2011 ---One Crazy Ride!


It was a calm and beautiful morning, I woke up with a plan to visit Nelliampathy, Athirampalli and reach Thrissur or anywhere after that. Got ready by 6 00 AM and another 20 minutes for packing things. 6:30 AM, I had checked out and was well on my way towards Nelliampathy. I did not want to stop by much as there was no rain ever since I landed in Pollachi. My first stop was at Kollengode, Kerala some 35 kilometres away from Pollachi. Sipped up some fresh tea and moved on slowly. I had to stop every now and then to take some random snapshots and for other nature calls.

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I decided to use the tripod more today as I have not used in the trip until now. However, I was too lazy to set up the tripod, mount the camera and then wait for it to fire. Using the gorilla pod seemed to be much easier for me and I continued to use that. I stopped once again at Nemmara to confirm the directions, and to have one more cup of tea. I gave lift for a small guy to reach his school some 2 kilometres away. If not for me or someone else giving a lift, the local kids used to walk the two kilometres every day! I could sense the happiness in the kid’s eyes as he got down from the bike – I gave him some chocolates and few biscuits I had – he went into the school so happily.

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I continued on, the winding road from Nemmara to Nelliampathy is so green and serene, which is very much pleasurable to ride on. I reached Pothundy Dam by 7:45 AM – But the gates open by 8 AM IST, which means it’s going to take some time and I went up to Nelliampathy and decide on Pothundy when I come back the same route. I stopped by the forest check-post to sign the register. The officer rather turned amused seeing me in my riding jacket and the other gears. I am asked to wait for a while and after some 5 minutes; I was let off after signing the register with Name, Address, Vehicle Number and contact Information.

I had earlier visited Nelliampathy with my parents a few months back and so I knew where to look forward to in there. As soon as I started the climb the vistas started changing, the weather becomes much cooler yet comfortable and relax able environment. I stopped by the Pothundy Dam viewpoint for some pictures and moved on. The hairpin bends are a bit steep and hence had to resort to lower gears. Saw a few monkeys running around the roads and few jumping around from one side of road to another. Few kilometres up the hill, the rain started pouring down. My bad luck there was not much cover from the trees in that stretch, so I was completely wet. I had packed the raincoat and boots since it was not raining in and around Pollachi. I rode on for a few hundred metres in search of a shady place to unload the saddle and get the raingear out. To my utter disappointment, I had left the boots and raincoat folded in the room itself and forgot to tie it along with the saddle.So, There I was completely wet, I was almost near Nelliampathy so that means I have to go back another 140 kilometres to get the raincoat.

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I had earlier borrowed my friend’s boot since mine was a full-size touring boot and was feeling uncomfortable on the calf where couple of leeches bit yesterday. If not for the raincoat, I had to go back to get the riding boots.But if I go back I have to miss visiting athirampalli, and if I go toathirampalli I would have to cover a lot of distance again. I decided to take a call after seeing places in and around Nelliampathy. First things first, as soon as I entered the town I had my breakfast – very good for the locality and the food was cheap and awesome. Had Dosa, Idly and some chayakerala style along with chuduvellam (Pink coloured hot water).

The rain seemed to have stopped, but as soon as I came out of hotel, it started again. The hotel owner asked me to give my riding jacket and he will dry it up in his kitchen until I see the first sightseeing place, Kesavanpara.So I let my jacket, knee guard there and started towards Kesavanpara. I was wearing the Wrangler T-shirt, Wrangler denim, Normal leather gloves and just the helmet to support me!I was shivering so much and another school kid came to the rescue, he had an umbrella and I had the bike so I picked him up and dropped him at the school near the viewpoint and I was saved up a bit.The Viewpoint is few hundred metres away from road where we have to walk up a little into the forest (Rather private forest)


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I took my tripod, gorilla pod and the tankbag with camera, lenses and umbrella. I would use the tripod to take my picture and umbrella to save up the bags and camera. I walked up to the viewpoint, since it was raining I could not see much of the scenery around, so had to turn back.Took some pictures of the tea estates around and fewself-portraits.I would have wasted at least some 100 images by using the “Self Timer: Continuous” option. It was getting dark and the rain seems increase every minute. I was just wondering what I would do for the next 130 odd minimum kilometres.Took few more pictures and the rain stopped, but fog picked up. I could not waste much time and so quickly went back to the bike, rode to the restaurant picked up the riding gear.

By now the jacket was a bit HOT! The shop owner advised me to put the jacket on top of Tea boiler or some closed vessel that heats up something which would absorb the moisture in the jacket. The shoulder, back part was OK but the hands were cold, very cold. So everywhere I stopped, I had to remove the jacket and put it on the boiler vessel or simply remove it and let it dry in a warm place. I then rode into the Poabs estate for seeing Seetharkundu, the suicidal viewpoint in Nelliampathy. There are many other placed like waterfalls, lakes and much higher viewpoints available but one has to trek or drive on a 4x4 vehicle. The rain again started by time I reached the tea estate. I had to stop by shady place every now and then.At the top, the rains were intermittent. There was no one else (except for the tea plantation workers) to visit the viewpoint. There was a Tea shop and the estate powder factory show. I left my jacket there and took my tripod, umbrella and camera.


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Initially the rain was too much to handle and later it was fog. I literally waited some 20 minutes in the same place for the rain and fog to let off so that I could take some pictures. I sensed something was irritating my legs, and I saw there were 4 leeches!! So much blood is been sucked by the Leech, I was feeling awkward that something is irking in the leg all the time. I quickly came back to the shop and I was asked to apply salt and the guy in the shop gave a small pack of salt to use on my trip. A rather effective tool is to use snuff powder (MookuPodi in Tamil)


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After Seetharkundu, I did not have any other place to visit but to reach Athirampalli. I may be dumb, idiotic, and crazy or whatever you name it – I decided to take the forest route to Pollachi, covering Athirampalli falls, sholayar and Valparai. It was a decision that came by itself and grew up on me.Finally I’m going to wander along the forest route with my Wrangler Jean, without any gear to cover up the denim.Till now, I haven’t got the mobile signal to reach the hotel to check / confirm if the boots are there. So I quickly rode down the hills without stopping much and called up the hotel from Wadakkanjery only from where my mobile worked. The hotel staff told me the room is not yet cleaned and is still the way I left it as, I asked them to check out if the boots and raincoat are still present and that I would call up in a hour or so.

I rode on towards chalakudy, On the busy traffic with so many potholes. I really feel pity for the truck drivers and the ambulances that have to ply along this route.It took me about 90 minutes to cover the 56 kilometres.I called the hotel staff again to confirm, and he mentioned that he would keep it in the room itself and if I am staying there again he would allocate the same room for the night. I confirmed and the room was booked. Had some tea and snacks there in Chalakudy, and proceeded to Athirampalli where I faced one of the toughest rain rides in my life. It was so severe that the visibility was bare minimum. I decided to take it easy and slowed down my speed and proceeded on with utmost caution. The oncoming vehicles aren’t of much help as they tend to take advantage of two wheelers and come bang on in front of the lane. It took me about an hour to cover the 30 beautiful kilometres.


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As I reached the Athirampalli waterfalls Viewpoint, The rain did not stop and so the visibility from the viewpoint itself was worse.So I went to have lunch at a nearby hotel which offered a nice view of the falls. Took some snaps, videos – had some parathakuruma for lunch and thankfully the rain receded for a while. Went back to the viewpoint to take some more snaps, videos and started back towards Sholayar.


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It was around 2 PM when I started from Athirampalli towards Valparai, famous for the forest route with just no roads. The first few kilometres were good,but as kilometres passed by the roads became worse with too much potholes and boulders.I was stopped near the Vazhachal falls for the mandatory register information. The forest officer warned me of Elephant trouble on the way and asked me to return back if there is any issue on the way.I’m riding solo and he was very sceptical and asked me to go only on my own guarantee that I would take care of myself. The words weren’t encouraging but I had no other option but to ride.

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As the forest route went deeper, the climate got worse – there weren’tmany options to wait as I may even get stuck or there could be wildlife along the way, so I did not stop much – or even I didn’t stop at all. I was forced to stop at few places as I sensed the clutch plates getting heated up. I had seen only one car went by over taking me and none that came in the opposite way. It does seem very scary for a normal hearted guy like me to ride solo into a unsafe terrain but with the only hope, trust or belief that I’m a wanderer at heart and would wander to at least achieve the self-esteem.

All the lakes, river streams and falls were full of energy and rather over flowing in many places. The clouds always seemed dull and gloomy. I had not seen Blue sky ever since I left Chennai last week; I was eagerly waiting for a bright and dramatic sky. There were usual places where I stop to take pictures, like the bridge across the river, the river entry point etc. There was not a single soul around for the last 15-20 kilometres in the forest. When you are afraid or unsure everything comes against your way. Even a big stone looks like an elephant. I did not have the luxury to stop by for pictures; whenever I stopped I took some random shots and moved on. The biggest problem is to take the camera out of the tankbag and put it in without having the lenses and laptop get wet.

After hours of struggle, I finally stopped by malakkapara the first village after about 2.5 hours of riding nonstop in the forest. Sipped one more tea and had some snacks, energy bars and moved on. Could not stop much again as rain was threatening to hit me any time. I reached Sholayar Dam by 5:30 PM – The clouds were dull and fog has started setting in. Few pictures of the dam and I was on my way to Valparai.

The roads were awesome and wonderful right from Tamil Nadu border (After Malakkapara) – The speeds ideally increased but due to wet road conditions I had to slow down to avoid fish tailing or skidding. Just as I was about to reach Valparai, I saw something huge, like a cow – but not a cow and as I went nearby it lifted its head up and started running away. Not realising what it is for a second I started riding towards it and found it was a B-I-S-O-N! The Bison was running across the road and I started riding behind it trying to get a glimpse on my camera. Thankfully it wasn’t raining so I simply placed the camera on top of the tankbag and moved towards it – It finally ran into the tea estates and I was on my way into Valparai.

Back into the town, I bought some coffee powder for using it back home and some fresh tea to sip in the cold weather. The clock turned 18:00! Damn, Its 6 PM and I have another 60 kilometres away from Pollachi. Now I realise, I’m indeed crazy.It’s going to be even crazierconsidering the fog setting in. With lady luck shining myside, I set on the crazy ride – for the first few kilometres it was all good. But then the rains started, the mist set in giving me no room to ride the way I wanted. I spot a bus going down so started tagging behind it.The bus was going too slow, so I overtook it and went for some distance in front and then even I was going at a speed lesser than the bus, so decided to tag behind the bus. There were a lot of high speeding cars going by, but I knew I cannot tail them; the cars were taking corners at 60 kmph where I could not even manage 15-20 kmph.

After hours and hours of gruelling ride, I completed about 30 hairpin bends. I spot a gang of guys chatting around on the Loam’s View point. There was nothing to see there now, or we could not see anything there now. I stopped to let my bike cool down a bit and tried some 30 sec shutter priority shots.I took some 20 minute break there, drank all the water I had, ate some more snacks and left from there. By then another tempo traveller was travelling slowly, but I had enough courage and experience to ride around the hills now. The mist too subdued after the viewpoint, so I took it easy and rode ahead. The rain stopped, fog cleared up and roads empty with few oncoming vehicles. I suddenly spotted a stream of cars going up, so I quickly took my camera, which was already, mounted on the gorilla pod, fixed it on my Rear view mirror holder, and tried some shutter priority shots. I slowly moved ahead and the cars kept passing by – the image too came out well for my satisfaction.

Soon, the forest check-post came in and this time I did not have to stop. From here on for the next 20 kilometres is plain and straight, finally some encouragement to open up the throttle. Since it was dark, I did not speed much and controlled my urge to speed. Took me about 20 minutes to reach Pollachi, and by mistake missed the road to my hotel and went on straight out of pollachi. So had to come back into Pollachi and time was 10:00 PM exactly.Went to the hotel, got my keys and crashed for some time. Ordered food in a nearby hotel and it was delivered to my room in 10 minutes flat. After quenching the needs for my stomach, I sat up to upload pending blog and edited the pictures and went to sleep..
There it was, One Crazy Ride..350 Kilometres, 15 hours, 1 Solo Rider – Wandering at his best.

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Total Kilometres: ~ 350
Fuel:– 700 Rupees at Pollachi
Food: 300 Rupees
Accommodation: 420 Rupees
No of Leech Bites: 4
Best Moments of the day: Riding through the mist &chasing a Bison in Valparai.
Worst Moment of the day: Athirampalli to Valparai – Heavy rains and No one else on the road for hours.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Old 26th June 2011, 15:06   #19
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Other Pictures from Day 4..
*Unable to add to the earlier post due to some 30 images per post rule :(

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Last edited by MadBiker : 26th June 2011 at 15:08.
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Old 26th June 2011, 16:16   #20
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Amazing pictures and a wonderful travelogue. This is the worst and best time for a bike trip in Kerala, worse for the weather part and best for, again the weather. Nothing can beat the wet green looks of Kerala during monsoon.
Missing the good times now but will try to reclaim some in August.
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Old 26th June 2011, 17:35   #21
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Madbiker, your post is a treat for the eyes! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photographs!
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Old 26th June 2011, 18:29   #22
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Easily one of the best travelogues here.
Awesome pictures and narration.. Keep it coming.
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Old 27th June 2011, 01:18   #23
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaguar.runs View Post
Amazing pictures and a wonderful travelogue. This is the worst and best time for a bike trip in Kerala, worse for the weather part and best for, again the weather. Nothing can beat the wet green looks of Kerala during monsoon.
Missing the good times now but will try to reclaim some in August.
Thank you! Good luck for reclaiming better times this august!

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Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
Madbiker, your post is a treat for the eyes! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photographs!
Thank you so much!

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Originally Posted by jeeva View Post
Easily one of the best travelogues here.
Awesome pictures and narration.. Keep it coming.
Thanks for the Kind words Jeeva!
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Old 27th June 2011, 14:08   #24
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Rated the thread a well deserved 5 stars!!

Great narration and pics. Please post the remaining stuff soon
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Old 27th June 2011, 14:30   #25
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Truly breathtaking pics Madbiker. Had been to Munnar in 2007. Indeed a heaven on earth. Awaiting further updates from you.

Cheers,
KTP
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Old 27th June 2011, 17:10   #26
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

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Rated the thread a well deserved 5 stars!!

Great narration and pics. Please post the remaining stuff soon
Thanks Abhinav once again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirantp View Post
Truly breathtaking pics Madbiker. Had been to Munnar in 2007. Indeed a heaven on earth. Awaiting further updates from you.

Cheers,
KTP
Thank you! Would post Day 5's soon..
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Old 27th June 2011, 17:35   #27
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Default Day 5: 07-June-2011 --- Absoluted at Alappuzha!

Day 5: 07-June-2011 --- Absoluted at Alappuzha!


It was a day to relax, recoup, recover and ride again. I had blogged until about 4 AM in the morning. So it was a late start, I could catch up about 4 hours of sleep. Someone was at the door, I opened up with tired eyes, it was the bell-boy informing that I need to vacate by 12 PM! I did not even have the energy to shout, so went back into the room – got freshened and packed up the bags. The sun was out bright and sunny, so I had the rain gear tucked into the tank bag. The first few kilometres have been traversed many a times and I almost memorized the route.Similar to yesterday, the roads were empty and colourful. I chose not to stop much for unnecessary pictures and concentrate more on the road. The bike and the body needed some rest, what place better than the undisputed backwater boating arena, Alappuzha.
Alappuzha is around 225 Kilometres from Pollachi.Ideally, it would take about 5 hours of riding. I took it rather slow; I did not want to hurt my wrist and already sour feet.9:30 AM, I was off from my hotel – The hotel staff waved at me and wished me good luck. I was running a little low on fuel, so had to tank up, but riding across the green fields made me forget and I kept riding without taking much breaks.


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I stopped by Vadakkencherry, 60 kilometres from Pollachi for some tea and snacks.Called up Keerthy to know the route, or rather wanted to know a much more scenic route.There were three routes in all and I decided to take the one that is covered y NH for most of the time. I was tired and my riding stances and riding speed said it all. I was still comfortable enough to do another 400 kilometers, but I did not want to strain and which may affect the rest of the days.

After a refreshing Tea, I proceeded on – The rain was looming and clouds were threatening me as if its going to rain. I quickly stopped over and swapped into the rain gears. Just as I zipped up the rain gear, the rain started pouring down. The climate kept on changing but upon reaching Thrissur it was all heating up. I decided to wear the gears only when it starts raining heavily. The reserve light was on by now and had to ride into Thrissur town to get a good petrol pump. It took them a while to fill up the tank and write down a bill for the same.

The roads started to be worse than I thought. Everyday rains are damaging the road pretty much. Since I was riding slower than normal, my thoughts too started wandering. I had to stop every now and then to wash up the face to freshen me up and ride again. The roads improved considerably beforeChalakkudy owing to the Toll road / widening project. There were speed traps being set up to keep the speeds in check. Most of them are by the highway patrol police.

I stopped just after Chalakkudy for another round of juices and cool drinks. The heat was getting ON and all the wetness arefinally trying to dry up! The shop owner asked me to take the deviation at Edappally and continue onto Alappuzha.The roads were good, hence I started matching better speeds, and so the extra bit of briskness.

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Soon I was at Edappally without even recognizing it, better roads makes travelling so comfortable! I was somewhat worried about the route from Kochi to Alappuzha as it is near to the coast and is vulnerable to extreme rain and also the possibility of very bad roads. To my sweetsurprise, The roads were wide and long like the Golden Quadrilateral helping me with some nice speeds.Sixtykilometres of nice roads meant, 1 hour of travelling. Since I travel a littleslower, I reached Alappuzha little later at 4:30 PM.


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I was roaming around the streets of Alappuzha without any aim. I was following the backwater path and it led me into the beach! Took some random shots, self-portraits and traced back the same route. Stopped by a hotel which looked decent, the owner was drunk to death, he went back to sleep saying something in Malayalam. I came out and another person helped me in taking a room. A comfortable backwater view room for 500 Rupees.

Dropped the bags and went to the Hero Honda Showroom to tighten the chains. Good for the riding gears and all, they did not charge me anything. I came back to the room to take rest. The hotel room assistant insisted I take a boat ride around 5:45 so I could see the sun set from the backwaters. I gladly dis so, Pricy for 300 Rs an hour ad it was a 2 hour ride! I went and sat on the front part of the boat.

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The initial few kilometres were dull as it had to cover all the dirty lanes of the backwater. Once on ino the backwater area, you see an army of fully covered, houseboats. I should have seen atleast 100 of them! The boat I took was a smaller one, but with the same accessories in a houseboat. The boat rider was patient and friendly as he took me cautiously from one side to the another of the backwaters.


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Time was running around and soon it was 6:10 PM. I thought I had already missed the sunset. It was cloudy and so could not witness it the proper way. The place was so calm and serene with some activity or the other happening on both sides of the lake. There are houses built on either sides of the backwaters and lots of temples around too.

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As the boat went on, the sun popped out a little from the clouds helping me see a beautiful sunset from Alappuzha. The golden coloured sunset made the water body too to reflect itsown golden colour. I lost myself sitting at the front of the boat, listening to the sound of water, birds and the people and started admiring everything else other than me! It was a divine feeling that one gets upon being slapped by nature’s best sights. With those heavy thoughts running on my mind, I went back to room ordered dinner, finished all my work early and went to bed as early as 8:30 PM.

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Total Kilometres: ~ 250
Fuel:– 800 Rupees at Thrissur
Food: 300 Rupees
Accommodation: 500 Rupees
Best Moments of the day: Boat ride in Alappuzha backwaters and seeing the sun set from Western coast.
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Old 28th June 2011, 11:01   #28
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Excellant travelogue @Madbiker. You have done some of the best routes in Kerela. Most of the routes you have taken are my favourites !

Kerela is at its best during Monsoon. Eagerly waiting for more pictures.
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Old 28th June 2011, 11:46   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ride_4_Fortune View Post
Excellant travelogue @Madbiker. You have done some of the best routes in Kerela. Most of the routes you have taken are my favourites !

Kerela is at its best during Monsoon. Eagerly waiting for more pictures.
Thank You!

How much ever i tried, Still i missed visiting few other places - Like Wayanad / Kumarakom. Guess we cant have it all at the same time

Thanks for the compliments again!
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Old 28th June 2011, 13:45   #30
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Ananth,

The travelogue is truly magical. I'm just amazed to see your endurance and never-say-die attitude. My respect to you.

Some of your pics reminds me of Aaromale song. :o)
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