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Old 28th June 2011, 14:27   #31
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

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Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
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)
Thanks! I'm honored to get such a comment, but I haven't done anything special at all!

Off topic : Aaromale? Oh yes, Wish i saw a Jessie there and rode with her back to Chennai!
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Old 28th June 2011, 17:38   #32
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Default Day 6: 08-June-2011 --- The day of the Beaches!

Day 6: 08-June-2011 --- The day of the Beaches!


After getting a hangover of the beauty of the backwaters of Alappuzha, It was time for some beaches from Southern Kerala. I wanted to visit Varkala for a long time and heard of the cliff view of the sea, and it was time to see it in person.I woke up before 6 AM, thanks to a well-deserved rest last night I was full of energy.

Other places in my mind to visit were Kollam, Ponmudi Hills and stay in Trivandrum for the night. As usual, I set out of the ride around 10:00 AM. There was some cloud cover, not by much – so the rain gears were al tucked inside. I stopped after an hour of riding. I was tired of parotta’s and asked for something else. Everyone at the hotel were pondering over my riding gear, I quietly answered their queries on why to wear the Knee Guards and Jackets.

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Around 12:00 PM, I was near Kollam where a couple of guys on a Karizma stopped me, It was a xBhpian from Kollam. Greeted and talked for a while, since I was running short of time bid adieu and left towards Varkala. I had to stop to admire the beautiful Kollam backwaters, fort and the beautiful beach. The port seems to be buzzing with so many boats / ships sailing across.Now, it was the time of sun and the humidity that makes things worse. Upon reaching Kollam, I saw the Ashtamudi Lake, there used to be boat services from Alappuzha to Kollam just like bus services every hour, but has been temporarily stopped.

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Varkala was nearby, some 50 Kilometres away. I reached there in an hour as the roads were good from Kollam right away tillVarkala. I looked around for directions to the beach and thankfully, Varkala is not so big a place to get lost. Upon reaching the beach, The bike had to be parked opposite to the beach and it would be left un attended, so I chose my own parking lot by taking off road and making a road for myself. Parked up on top of a nearby clif, took some pictures and came down.

Back at Varkala Town, I see a board Helipad – Something new, so I quickly change path to look for it. The helipad welcomed me with some nice steep hairpin bends. It was more of a private restaurant complex attached at the top, with a decent sized helipad. The helipad too offered the same view as that of the place I found before. I was clicking some snaps when a curious traveller started a conversation. He suggested I should visit Thenmala, which is only about 80 kilometres from here. Without even enquiring others about the place, I set the destination targets on the GPS and zoomed back the way.


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The sun was blazing hot, and this means Iwill get dehydrated soon. I stop by to get some juices and water.The roads were normal and I joined again at the Kollam highway. I spot a shorter route in the gps map, but the directions were given to pass through Kollam. I took the plunge, took the deviation at Kottiyam Junction and proceeded towards the other end of the road meeting the Kollam – Thenmala road. The climb up the hill was treacherous; I had to limit to fort few gears. One of the sudden gulp of acceleration again got my bike struggling. The throttle response became poorer and also poor mileage as well.

I took me more than a hour to reach the last twenty kilometres tThenmala. I was disappointed there wasn’t much to be seen except for the dam and a Deer park fpr the kids. I stopped for Tea at a Viewpoint, took some shots and moved on. The dam was good, soring adequate water for supply around the hill. The Khallada River too makes it look good. The forest starts as soon as I exit the dam, running through very quiet villages, lush rubber plantations and just greenery everywhere. I stop by another viewpoint called Saddle Dam. Most of the boards are written in Tamil, So I always wonder if it is TN or Kerala.


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30 Kilometers ON, I took the deviation towards Ponmudi, another hill station in Southern Kerala. The vegetation is much lusher and the roads are bad at few places and excellent in someplaces.Once we cross major towns, the roads become much better. The roads look similar to Athirampalli, covering through the forest and just the difference was better roads. As I climb up, the mist starts setting in and a strange thing – I have not seen any vehicle overtaking me nor have I overtaken anyone for the last 20 kilometres in the hills.
I climb up the 22 hairpin bends, and finally reach the top. The time was 5:45 PM and getting dark and lonely. There were two hotels at the Top – The government room costs 400 Rupees and the private hotel costs 2100! The government room was not given to me as the officer was speaking rules of only government official needs to stay and all that. I could not stay at a place worth 2100 for few hours, there was a PWD camp shed on the way where the workers stay, costing just Rs.50 but the problem was safety and security. It was a common room and anyone can walk in and out any time.So, I had to skip this also!So I began my expedition to ride down the hills once again in the night.


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I covered the 22 hairpin bends quickly but as soon as I hit the forests below it, the rain started. It became intense as I exit the forest on to the plains. I stopped on the middle of the road (No traffic anyway), ran to a tree cover, changed into my rain gears and started riding back. The roads were in a very bad condition towards Trivandrum. The next 55 Kilometres were spent dodging potholes and maniacal drivers. I reached Trivandrum after much furore, by 8 PM.could not find any decent hotels around so rode into Kovalam which was another 15 kilometres away.Rode along the beach road and hoped into a normal budget hotel. Checked in, removed the luggage and came back into town for dinner. I visited the beach at night, just to get a glimpse of the west coast and later crashed for the night.


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Total Kilometres: ~ 350
Fuel:– NA
Food: 200 Rupees
Accommodation: 400 Rupees
Best Moments of the day: Riding along the forests in Thenmala, going along the Khallada River and Riding down from Ponmudi after sunset.
Worst Moment of the day: Issues with the bike, Throttle response unsatisfactory.
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Old 28th June 2011, 19:50   #33
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

ananth - Awesome tlog and superb pictures to go with it.

Hats off to your enthusiasm, drive and passion to do such a wonderful trip !
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Old 28th June 2011, 20:04   #34
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Hey ananth, This is one fantastic travelogue I ever read. The pictures do the talking, they are so tempting that even I want to visit these beautiful places. Hat's off to you man, I had also read your TL of Leh on Karizma with steve on XBHP.

Keep it up man, I wish all good luck for your future rides as well.

Last edited by bluevolt : 28th June 2011 at 20:08.
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Old 28th June 2011, 20:07   #35
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

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Hey ananth, This is one fantastic travelogue I ever read. The pictures do the talking, they are so tempting that even I want to visit these beautiful place. Hat's off to you man, I have read your TL of Leh on Karizma with steve on XBHP.

Keep it up man, I wish all good luck for your future ride as well.
Thanks Anmol!

Leh was a totally different league, but never the less this particular ride was on par for the difficulties (Riding across storm winds in Rameshwaram, blistering rain in Chalakudy, etc etc)

Thanks for liking and hope you have many more sweeter miles on your City!

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ananth - Awesome tlog and superb pictures to go with it.

Hats off to your enthusiasm, drive and passion to do such a wonderful trip !
Many Thanks NPV, Glad you liked them all!
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Old 29th June 2011, 11:33   #36
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

It is indeed "GODS own country" mate. And let me tell you, you have pretty good photography skills

Last edited by adalvi : 29th June 2011 at 11:34.
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Old 29th June 2011, 12:03   #37
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Fundoo Travelogue Ananth. Wish I could rate more than 5 stars. Now making a point to definitely visit Kerala during monsoons.
And, you are an awesome photographer.
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Old 29th June 2011, 12:43   #38
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

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It is indeed "GODS own country" mate. And let me tell you, you have pretty good photography skills
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Fundoo Travelogue Ananth. Wish I could rate more than 5 stars. Now making a point to definitely visit Kerala during monsoons.
And, you are an awesome photographer.
Thanks adalvi & Rahul! It was indeed his own country!

Do visit them before everything gets too commercialized! Its a unexplainable feeling travelling Kerala in Monsoons, Plan your trip soon!
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Old 29th June 2011, 18:25   #39
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Default Day 7: 09-June-2011 --- At The Land’s End, Kanyakumari

Day 7: 09-June-2011 --- At The Land’s End, Kanyakumari


The room was very much comfortable for the money I paid. I woke up to find every part of my body paining. Though I had only 100 kilometres to cover for the day, I had to make sure I reach in one piece. I woke up by 7:30 AM, freshened up and immediately went to see the beach. There were a couple of beaches in Kovalam, Hawah and Eva Beach. Some frantic crowd in Hawah beach did not make it much appealing, so searched around for Eva beach road and found it in a small corner next to the Huge Leela Hotel.


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The road descended down and directly went into the beach. Couple of bikes were parked in the road, but not much crowd also in the beach. I took the plunge and rode into the beach, it is indeed a wonderful feeling to ride on the sands of the beach. I went directly in way of the sea and was stuck between the waves and tires were locked under the sand. My good luck, a small push got me out of there, so I went to a little safer place, but still the waves are huge and hit the bike wherever I went on the beach. Had fun dodging the waves and finally got back to the hotel after some 30 minutes.


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By time, the hotel owner had removed my luggage and kept it on this lobby. I was somewhat unhappy with it. I went back to the room again to freshen up as I started sweating from the morning exercise in the beach. I mounted the saddles and started towards the last destination on the true wanderer contest, Kanyakumari.
I tanked up at a nearby HP petrol bunk, the attendant was out right rude –literally had to fight to get a bill for the tank up. The rains started by time I was about to exit Kerala, It was as though god sent me rain as a send-off measure. It felt as though someone is coming around with you, there was some kind of un-explainable bonding that I had created virtually with the rain, Kerala and the people of the god’s own country.


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Pleasure is in watching the school kids wave at you, an oncoming biker dude cheering you up for no particular reason and to get wet in the rain like a kid. What’s there in riding when you don’t get to ride in the rain. As the thinking cap was automatically on, I completely forgot about wearing rain gears and I was completely wet in the rain. I stopped to cover up the purse, tank bag and mobile phones. The next 60 kilometres were ridden in out and out rain, easily one of the incessant rains for this monsoon season. I did not even feel like stopping, such is the joy of riding, the joy of rain riding.


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Stopped by Kerala border for a customary picture and rode into a fresher, wetter Tamil Nadu after a long time. Stopped by Marthandam for breakfast. The rain did not seem to stop what so ever, but at patches, there were bright sun light. The denim would dry up whenever there is a bright sunny area and would again get wet as I go through the rain. This happened till Nagercoil, and in within 3 kilometres the conditions drastically changed as it was so blistering hot in Kanyakumari.

So, There I was at the land’s end – The permissible point where I could ride in the main land India. I had earlier covered Kashmir (Khardung La / Marsmik La) which were the northern most I could ride on a motorcycle and now I was at the southern tip of India. The very huge sea makes you look smaller than everything else does. I checked into a room, had my lunch and rested for a while. By evening, I was out again riding in search of the sunset along the west coast. Witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen!


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I rode around the sea, without any aim just to wander around the sea. I reached the point where there was no going forward, but to take a U Turn and return back. The wrangler denim has survived one of the toughest riding days in South India. Covering through heat, humidity, rains, storms, heavy winds, cold weather, etc. etc. but still survived to say its story.


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The True Wanderer thus ends at The Land’s End – Kanyakumari. I take much privilege and honour for representing and riding for wranglers and of course like every time for xBhp. It has been a special feeling for doing such an intense ride covering beaches, backwaters, lakes, hill stations, dams, forest roads and blistering fast highways.

Did I attain the purpose of my trip, yes! I learnt so much on the trip. Any rider would know how hard it is to ride on rains and how even more difficult it is to ride in Kerala’s monsoon rains. I am happy to have taken the most challenging conditions one could ask for in Southern India to ride and yet come out successfully without even a fall or accident. I also would like to inform that, I had helped who ever I could on the trip on way of monitory help to even a simple drop from point A to B. I had reused all the plastic bags I had procured from Chennai and disposed of other plastics in proper disposable bins.

I went In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country. Did I find god? Did I find what makes Kerala special? I did!

God is Love, hence you find God where love is in practice. Despite growing international interest, Kerala continues to retain its unique cultural identity. In Kerala, less is more and there is no room for pretension. It is impossible not to be touched by the overwhelming warmth and welcoming spirit of its people.

All of Kerala’s charming destinations ie, beaches, backwaters, hill stations and wild life are only a few hours’ ride from each other. Added to this, is the fact that Kerala is India’s most advanced society and a true masterpiece of diversity. Nowhere else would one find people of the three greatest religions living in such harmony!

The intoxicating smell of the dry Earth getting drenched, the splashing waters and the tiny paper boats sailing on the clogged water are the scenes visible only in Kerala during Monsoons.

The community life on its banks, the reclaimed farms, the network of canals and rivers, the flora and fauna, the indigenous methods of fishing, the handmade country boats which are works of art, the versatile coir fibre and finally the cuisine.

Thus, I complete my True Wanderer Ride - In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala. The ride may have completed, But The wandering continues..

* I managed to cover Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu) next day, little extention outside the Wrangler - True Wanderer Trip. Would post that log when ever i find time - Thanks for reading! *
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Old 29th June 2011, 21:08   #40
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Default Re: Day 7: 09-June-2011 --- At The Land’s End, Kanyakumari

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* I managed to cover Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu) next day, little extention outside the Wrangler - True Wanderer Trip. Would post that log when ever i find time - Thanks for reading! *
Wow! Loved every bit of the TL and the snaps. Please tell me that you covered Dhanushkodi as well and have taken equally good snaps there too. And please post the log and pics sooner than later.
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Old 30th June 2011, 08:36   #41
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Default Re: Day 7: 09-June-2011 --- At The Land’s End, Kanyakumari

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Wow! Loved every bit of the TL and the snaps. Please tell me that you covered Dhanushkodi as well and have taken equally good snaps there too. And please post the log and pics sooner than later.
Thank you, I'm still processing the log and pictures - would do so before the weekend! Thanks for reading!
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Old 1st July 2011, 01:27   #42
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Great travelogue, and great photography. Travelling on a bike and feeling the wind on the face is something that cannot be explained. And if the ride is through winding and narrow hilly roads with rain and fog, the joy after coming in one piece is really great.
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:11   #43
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Default Re: Day 3: 05 -June-2011 --- Majestic Munnar

Great travelogue buddy. Visited Munnar 3 years back. Drove a car which was a great experience. Cannot imagine driving a bike. Lucky you
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:22   #44
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

I really enjoyed reading your full travelogue especially the pictures. I think you now found The God in Kerala :-)

Did you feel like giving up somewhere in between esp travelling in continuous rain for several hours in a stretch, that too all alone? or were you able to enjoy it instead?

Was the seating postion comfortable for such long drives or were you having a stiff/sore back? I am asking this because I have a sore back after riding in Bangalore traffic in my bike for a couple of hours in single go.
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:34   #45
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Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

I'm sad the travelogue had ended.
Waiting for your other travelogues. Drive Safe till then!
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