Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 24th June 2011, 09:52   #1
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Hello readers, I’m Ananth from Chennai, An avid motorcycle enthusiast and a casual photographer. Here I am, Representing Wranglers to go on a dream ride to Kerala for 7 Days - In search of what makes Kerala so special. What is in it for us to call is the God’s Own Country? What makes it so godly that no other place is described so? And hence the ride: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala. have always been passionate about discovering places on motorcycle and which automatically inspired me to visit Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and recently Jammu & Kashmir. One such ride I did last year was “The Monsoon Ride to Kerala” which got me into the top 10 finalist for “The True Wanderers” contest by Wranglers.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-ananth_insearchofgod02.jpg

Upon getting selected, I was sponsored to ride for 7 days across South India, From 03-June-2011 till 09-June-2011. You can as well goto Search for the True Wanderers - Ananth T E if in case you want to read the log along with pictures uploaded on the go. In this thread, I would attach images that were processed after the trip, and try to update the logs with any other useful information. I did extend the ride and visited couple of other places after the ride and made it a grand 10 day ride. Do reply back with your comments, suggestions, critique or anything that could help me do better.

The results were published much earlier than I anticipated and was announced that I was one of the top 10 finalist for the contest. I was jubilant and went around everywhere praising myself on the same. The D Day came as the dates were fixed as June 3 to June 9, 2011. My cousin sister’s marriage and another family function were also fixed on 2nd & 3rd June, 2011. So that made things complex. After discussing with the officials, the timings for the flag off were relaxed and I get to be at the Wrangler Exclusive Showroom, Kochi on 3rd June 2011, by 11:00 AM. Since I could not ride on 2nd or 3rd to Kochi, I decided to start to Kochi on 1st June – Leave the bike in Kochi, return back to Chennai to attend the functions and again go back to Kochi on 3rd June for the flag off. Phew, So much drama even before the start of the trip.


Things I’m using on the Trip:


Hero Honda Karizma ZMR – For the joy of riding!

Cramsters Tank Bag – For easy access to stuff I need on the go.

Cramsters Saddle Bag – For anything and everything else I might need on the trip would be safely stored here.

Canon 500D – The awesome crop camera!

Tamaron 17-50 F2.8 – For fast and vibrant images

Sigma 10-20 – To see things W-I-D-E

Sigma 70-300 – To get up-close and personal with anything I wish to shoot.

Gorillapod – On the go easy mounting tripod.

Vivitar Pro – Steel Tripod for better Night & Self-portrait pictures

Cordura Riding Jacket – For protection from cold, wind and water resistance with C E Approved armor.

Riding Gloves – Cordura, Leather and Mesh gloves – One for each type of weather.

Duckback – The trusted companion on rain rides. The amazing rain coat.

Garmin 76CSX – The GPS that cannot drown. All weather GPS which could float!

Read on as i start one of the most interesting rides of my lifetime - My moment awaits in K-E-R-A-L-A!

Special Thanks to :

I would like to extend my thanks to the following people, wiithout them - I dont think the trip would have been a success..
  • H V Kumar
  • Aparajith
  • Sudharshan Sreenivasan
  • Sudarsan Srinivasan
  • Tarun Charles
  • Praveen Selvam
  • Srinivasan Rajagopalan a.k.a Steve
  • Sathish K Ponnusamy
  • Keerthy M
  • Karuna Karan
  • Ranjith M, Cochin
  • Swaroop, Cochin
  • xBhp & Wranglers, Ofcourse!


Day 1: 03-June-2011 --- The D Day


Thanks to the courteous Wrangler staff, I was allowed to reach there by 10:00 AM instead of the actual 9 AM start. I finished my work, packed up things and was at the airport by 7 AM. To my surprise my flight has been delayed and won’t start for at least an hour. I called up my friends (Cochin xBhpians) informing my status and requesting them to pass on the message to wrangler as soon as possible. I really did not expect this situation as I did not want to cut a sorry face on Day 1 itself. An hour went by and we were asked to wait in a special waiting area. Little did I know that the flight was cancelled and we were boarded on the next flight to Kochi. I called up the taxi driver in Kochi asking him to be present in Kochi airport in an hour. The flight finally took off by 10:20 AM, almost couple of hours late. Landed up at Kochi by 11:30 AM, way too late – Thankfully the taxi was on time and instructed him to get there as fast as possible.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0004.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0018.jpg

Received a call from Wrangler marketing team enquiring about my status, and they were very humble enough to accept my reason and apology. The flight was mainly delayed due to the very heavy rains in Kochi and literally inundating all the roads in the city. As I reached the showroom, everything was readily prepared and waiting for my arrival. I was asked to select a Wrangler Jean – I let the selection to the showroom manager and was given and nice and sturdy looking Jean and couple of Wrangler T-shirts. First impression was the jean may be a bit tight, but I was wrong – It fit and matched my requirements completely. I should be riding with the Jean on for the next 7 days continuously. The jean would sport a rugged look after extensive usage and thus making it a much more useful, usable and valuable garment.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0044.jpg

By 1:30 PM, I was flagged off from the Wrangler Exclusive Store, MG Road, Ernakulam, Kochi by the Wrangler Officials. The officials were very happy to flag me off, and by now we all had already built rapport. The owner of the showroom was a champion in last year’s Pala Off-Roading competition and was full of energy. I was given so much advice, Information and precautions about travelling in Kerala. They even went about writing down the list of places they feel is worth visiting along with directions, kilometres and the difficulty level in accessing the route. Swaroop and Kochu from Kochi xBhp was also present a round of thanks for their efforts as well. As I set out from the showroom, the sky was open and raining like there is no tomorrow.

I went to the nearby petrol pump to tank up, and set out on an expedition of sorts. I did not know the route and the directions given on the GPS was a traditional route which I did not want to traverse through. The first 10 kilometres took me about 1 hour. With rains playing joyfully, the commuters were finding it difficult to navigate across the city. It took me a while to keep things going as I was chasing time against the mighty rain. I planned to hit Thekkady (Kumily) as I could get decent accommodation and internet connectivity as well.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0051.jpg

Reached Moovaattupuzha, 40 kilometres from Kochi by 3:30. It is raining constantly giving no respite for anyone. Stopped for a cup of tea - informed parents, friends and also SunilG (xBhp) that I have successfully started the ride. The roads thankfully were in a good shape from here, so I could maintain at least about 40-50 kmph. Consistent rains meant I can’t ride fast nor take things easier, had to be safe and vigilant all the time. Next up was Thoduppuzha, Similar names by pronunciation but each and every town is different in its own ways. I did slip and skid for a while, I was still getting used to riding in heavy rains. It’s not as easy as we think – Every move needs to be done with care, even the slightest extra throttle on a corner would skid you off. So, Overtaking, Cornering, Breaking, etc needs to be precisely done and hence the reduced speeds.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0062.jpg

From Thoduppuzha, I wanted to take the Pala – Kanjirapalli - Thekkady route. The rains by now started to be intermittent. So I could blip the throttle once in a while to up the ante. Every now and then I had to stop to see the scenery, give life to school kids or just to let the bike rest for a while. Mind you, The bike is constantly on first three gears and so more stress on the engine. As time flew by, Darkness started gripping in. I had about 85 kilometres to cover and it’s about 5:30 PM already. I took things as it comes by, So stopped where I wanted and rode without a break if I don’t feel like stopping. The rain came back with a bang recuperating for my fast run to Thoduppuzha.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0064-2.jpg

As I started entering Pala, The roads became narrower, steeper and with a lot of potholes. One funny thing I noticed was: Few potholes are covered by coconut shells and coir’s. It would help a car, but not a motorcycle as it doesn’t grip on to the tyre. I had to wait every few kilometers to wait for rain to stop but as I reached Pala, A new challenge awaited me. Fog. Small Village roads with less traffic, Better inclination and hence even more rain. Whenever the rain stops, the fog overtakes and takes over the entire place and would not bind up unless it rains. It’s a do or die situation. I cannot ride with my visor up since it’s raining, but if I do open up, the fog does irritate you.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0081.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0096.jpg

I crossed Kanjirapalli and the vistas started to be amazing. Its on the other side of 6 PM and my luck the sunlight still stayed. I took as much use as I can, but just like the wanderer in me – Eyes too keep wandering and see the b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l vistas around. So, I had to stop every now and then to keep on telling myself not to stop and just concentrate on the road. The traffic on the highway too helped me a great mile. If the visibility goes down because of fog, everyone on the road starts behaving well! They turn on the hazard lights and keep driving slow. As soon as rain comes (Better visibility) they intend to overtake and race each other.

I kept on riding for 40 kilometres without a break. I adjusted the GPS to show the route I wanted. Few kilometers ON, the GPS again gave some wrong directions – for a second I lost concentration and kept my eyes off the road and saw the GPS – I missed a corner and went out of the road. Bless fully, I skid and stopped with the rubber side down. Wonder even the slightest of the mistakes has so much impact on the road. I shouted, screamed and advised myself to ride safely – After all I’m riding solo and I’m the only person to pacify myself!

I took a short break for tea, relaxed for a while. 44 Kilometres to go and the time was 6:35 PM. I do an average of 20 kmph on the hills. This includes food / photography breaks. Since I ride slow in general, I had to push hard in few places with good visibility and straight road. The fog took its job after rains and then immediately it was Fog + Rain! One cannot ask for more trouble than this. I quiet seem to enjoy the experience as It helps in gaining more experience and also to suit ourselves to ride in such conditions.

Saw a lot of waterfalls, Viewpoints, Tea plantations, Rubber plantations etc. Since the rain is not going to stop – It is very difficult to take pictures from the SLR. Remove gloves; Open the rain cover, Open Zip, Take out SLR from the cover – take a picture – close cover – close zip – close rain cover. This itself consumes a lot of time. I patiently rode behind a truck for another 45 minutes and covered 22 kilometres! I am going too slow and may not reach Thekkady If I don’t rush up. Had to stop by an huge waterfall. Had missed spotting it last time as the water was not much – But this time it was too huge to be missed. Since it was dark – I had to use the oncoming light to fuel the picture. I started shivering from inside with cold water dripped on to my shoes. The riding glove was also not waterproof so my hands too went numb.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0143.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0152.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0155.jpg

The next 10 kilometres till Kumily was havoc. Rains, Fog, Idiotic cars and much more. I was tired as well, So speeds too came down. It was all dark by now and I could not see what’s on the road. Every now and then I will wait for a rather slow car to pass through so that I could tuck behind it to ride safe in such conditions. After 6 hours of gruelling ride, covering remote villages of Pala and Idukki – I reached Thekkady by 7:40 PM. 6+ hours for 180 kilometres. As said, Riding in rains and the hills is not easy task – especially when you are chasing the South West Monsoon. I rode on straight on to the Guest house near Periyar Tiger Reserve and crashed for few hours.
I woke up at 10:00 PM to get some food and blog about the day. To my dismay – There is no internet connection in Thekkady and all connections were ripped off in the rain. There is no cyber café open and won’t be open for the next few days. Since the data card to wasn’t working – I could not help but to go back and sleep.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0161.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0163.jpg

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Kilometres: 185
Fuel: 11 Litres topped up at Kochi – 700 Rupees
Food: 100 Rupees
Accommodation: 600 Rupees
Best Moments of the day: Riding across the green hills of Idukki and the panoramic view of the misty mountains.
Worst Moment of the day: Taking a corner and visor getting fogged up forcing me to come to a grinding halt (Thankfully Safe).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last edited by MadBiker : 24th June 2011 at 10:10.
MadBiker is offline   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 10:17   #2
BHPian
 
aa_asif's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: KL 07 > KA 03
Posts: 244
Thanked: 35 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Hmmm... looks like there's lot on the way. Kerala looks the best during monsoons. You have an interesting list of photogears, Awaiting more kickass photos!

Cheers!
aa_asif is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 10:19   #3
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Day 2: 04 -June-2011 ---The Wanderer goes Wandering!


The night faded away quickly and I woke up for the chirping songs of the birds outside my door. I had stayed in a Hill View apartment last night and the forest started almost few hundred meters away. Was comfortable room but the gruelling rain ride from last night had left my body numb. Woke up by 6:30 and prepared for the day. I thought I had missed the first boat at 6:00 AM into the Periyar Lake and casually started packing things.

When I came out for a cup of tea, the hotel owner asked me to rush to the security gate to get the entry ticket – The boat starts in another 30 minutes (7:30 AM) and tickets are hard to come by. I quickly took out the bike and moved on, Leaving my saddle bag and the rain gear back in the room itself. It took me about 10 minutes to cover the 2 Kilometre forest road leading to the boatyard. The long queue and non-stop rains played spoilsport. The tickets were sold off by time the person in front of me was at the queue. The forest department official made a few instructions over the walky-talky and then a new boat was arranged for us. The person in front of me took 7 tickets, one for myself and 4 more for the guy behind me. I ran ahead to catch the first row, but was stopped at the entrance point to get a new ticket for camera. The guy issuing the tickets was rather busy with attending other people and another queue of 6 members. I finally get the tickets and run to the boat at 7:35 AM.

The boat was rather empty as there were no other takers for 7:30 AM ride. I get to the first row and start capturing the lake. Rains have not stopped yet and I lost hope of getting connectivity in Idukki where I intend to stay tonight. Few miles on to the lake, The Mountains open up – giving awesome views of the flora and fauna around Periyar Lake. Since it is raining constantly we could not see much animals around – But I did spot a bison, deer, Fox and some wild pigs!

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0170.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0183.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0200.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0206.jpg

The boat ride continued on, I was informed it is a two-hour ride and would go into the extreme ends of the lake. The weather started to be even cooler and I was shivering till my jaws. I went on shooting images as I pleased. Every now and then the big family towards my left would ask me what animal it is and I would zoom in to check what it is and let them know. I always wondered how using a flash in a digital camera would cover the animal, which is at-least half a mile away! I did help them take few family photos and asked them to cover few other places in Idukki, which is en-route to Munnar.

The boat ride completed by time and I had to walk for a while to reach the parking lot. It started drizzling and I simply used my umbrella to cover myself up this time. As I reached the bike, the rain stopped and it became a pleasurable climate. I wandered into the tiger reserve and took few images off the road. By then I became hungry, so finished my breakfast at thekkady itself – A small but clean and decent tiffin stall selling idly’s. I munched up 4 Idly’s and a cup of tea and I was all set to start.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0222.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0223.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0255.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0372.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0389.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0391.jpg

Settled the hotel bill, got information about route and climatic conditions to Idukki and proceeded. The plan was to visit Vagamon and reach Idukki by night. Since it is hilly region, the total kilometres to be covered it very less compared to plains – But covering 200 kilometres in hills is equal to doing 400 kilometres in plains. The strain, effort, concentration, stamina, etc. needs to double up for riding on such places. To me, Idukki district is one of the most beautiful places in South India, So I would never give up Idukki for any other place comparatively less beautiful. It was already 11 AM by time I started and rains were playing havoc. I was on my full rain gear & riding gear so I did not face much difficulty but the body did take a toll. I wantedly slowed down in so many places just to get used to weather conditions and the environment around.

I stopped on the state highway to take a picture of the famous church, Pattumala matha. Took few random snaps of the tea estates around and my next stop was at Parunthumpara, Which offers a panoramic view of the surrounding hills of Idukki. The roads to Parunthumpara are a bit steep and also runds through villages, and so roads aren’t really great. As I started going near the top, the mist started spreading in and the visibility levels went down the drain. A small auto that was also going up stopped down and was relaxingly waiting for the mist to clear. Since I did not have the luxury to wait up, carried on – the tourist I met in Thekkady had found the directions somehow and made it to the top before me. The thick fog did not seem to clear up anytime soon, so had to turn back to the highway.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0399.jpg

Up next was the Enchanting Vagamon. Vagamon is famous for its rolling meadows / green hills and the pine forest. Though I mention it as famous, It does not seem to attract even 10% of total visitors to Munnar or other Hill stations around. I had to stop at every other corner to admire the beauty, Not just for taking photographs, but just to see the divine mix of greenery and awesomeness is un explainable in pictures and can only be experienced. Just like Parunthumpara, The roads started getting filled up by fog making it un-ride-able at many places. It is not a problem if the fog remains constant, but it would be dense in one corner and another corner it will be normal. So again, with precaution I ride slow and steadily climbing up the Vagamon hill. Reached Pine Valley, The place where the pine forest is cultivated by the government. All cars were parked in a separate area dn every one walk the rugged off road path. Being a wanderer does not necessarily mean I should off-road but, I wanted to and hence offroaded to the base of the forest to take some snaps and came back. Problem is to keep the rubber side down and the smiling face up all the time.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0415.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0444.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0459.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0463.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0471.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0493.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0509.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0511.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0522.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0525-2.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0531.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0543.jpg

After the Pine forest, I headed to the Rolling Meadows, I was asked to park the bike out and trek into the meadows. I decided against it and trekked up the next similar grass hill, which offers the same view and doesn’t cost a penny. After I trekked down, few more couples started coming into this hill than the usual meadow that is governed by the government. I went into the town to sip some tea and snacks. Idukki was about 80 kilometres from there, and I had a couple of places to visit enroute. Since I covered Vagamon faster, I thought I could hit munnar by late evening. However, it was kept as a backup plan.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0567.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0582.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0590.jpg

The rain doesn’t seem to leave me and I also stopped complaining. I’m here to be a part of nature and enjoy it than crib about the issues of monsoon season. Though I gripe a lot about inability to ride, I in fact love the same and that is the reason I have travelled thousands of kilometres now to witness the same. I had to visit Anjuruli and Kalvary Mount near Kattapana, Idukki. The rain was in full flow and the roads helped me a great deal in maintaining the race against time. Crossed up several bridges, many more waterfalls and some important river crossings like the Periyar River. The river seems to be in full stormy flow as I saw it going across so seviourly. There were a couple of huge waterfalls that pour down straight on the road, If needed the bike can be washed there! 

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0614.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0642.jpg

I rode non-stop from vagamon to Kanchyar that took almost a couple of hours! I took the deviation to Anjuruli, a tourism village where the water here is stored for the Idukki hydroelectric project comes from Erattayar River. Spend some good 20 minutes gazing at the beauty of the vallleys, the water gushing through the tunnels, taking pictures, etc. Had a kattam chaya (Black Tea) in the only small petty shop there and continued towards Kattapana, stopped by 10th Mile (a place) and took the deviation to Kalvary Mount.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0672.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0688.jpg


Kalvary Mount is a secluded area, which offers a splendid view of the Idukki dam water catchment area. The Kalvary mount also has a church and used for few religious processions as well. The climb starts very steep and since it is raining, I found it doubly hard to manage the bike, the slippery feet and the heavy saddlebags. The first few metres were ok, but as the progress went on, the last but tw steepness was too much and I almost lost balance. Wonder how, I somehow managed to cling on to the handlebar and the feel on the ground, I regained momentum and went up ahead. The last incline was tedious as well; this time is complete boulders and mud that make it even more slippery. The terrain is not straight and is bent like a curve so the tyre slips when I push forward. For a change, came a couple of steps backward and revved the bike and it went over the boulder. I reached the top and it starts raining. I have nowhere to hide, nowhere else to go. I simply wait in rain hoping the visibility improves and I get to see the water. I waited for 15 minutes, but no luck. I had to come down which proved even tougher. The fog made things worser. I slipped, but didn’t fall. I moved inch by inch. The last 400 metres took me about 15 minutes. So much to see just the fog? No! I proved myself that I can do off roading solo and yet come back with the rubber side down! That’s an achievement for me. Those who know Kalvary mount would know how hard it is to ride here in wet conditions.

I rode down till Idukki Dam and took some random snaps. Sipped some tea once again – I even forgot to eat lunch! I have been riding like a nomad or a true wanderer since morning without any specific aim. I reached Idukki about 5 PM. Munnar was about 60 kilometres from there. I had once travelled to Rajakkad after sunset and I knew the route would not help riding fast. I took my break before Painavu and it was already 5 30 PM. There was still about 54 kilometres from there. I did not want to take the traditional route and I was told there is a old village route, which has some tarmac but covers the route skipping angamaly. It was via Cheachuvadu, along the Cheruthoni – Neriamangalam route. It became dark and thankfully the upgraded headlamps helped me a mile. There were many small towns enroute where I got information about exact route, landmarks and also if in case of any issues where would be the nearest hotel / guest house. I remember passing through kallarkutty dam and the changulam dam area and it was all dark so I could even hardly remember the exact route but all I remember is that if not for the people in the smaller unknown towns of the western ghats, I don’t know where I would have been. I would have had to camp under the tree somewhere on the forest until I found someone to guide me! The GPS really did not help much, but it did show which area is nearby (dam / lake / river etc)

After so many struggles, I reached the NH49 at Chitrapuram. But the roads were in a real bad condition and I had to tail behind a bus for a very long time. Finally, around 8 PM, I reached Munnar. Was it worth it I asked, when I saw the board! Yes, It was worth it. The night ride on the hills made me closer to nature and to talk to people of unknown localities and still get their divine help!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Kilometres: 200
Fuel:– 700 Rupees
Food: 100 Rupees
Accommodation: 6000
No of Leech Bites: 2
Best Moments of the day: Winding roads of Vagamon, Mist ride in Paranthumpara!
Worst Moment of the day: Riding through dams & tea estates around munnar and yet unable to visually see them properly.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last edited by MadBiker : 24th June 2011 at 10:24.
MadBiker is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 10:20   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
mayankjha1806's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: BLR/Gurgaon
Posts: 2,133
Thanked: 820 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Ohhh boy, wonderful start. Keep going. Do update us with the route you took and other details.
mayankjha1806 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 10:27   #5
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Additional Pictures from Day 2 :



At Anjuruli..
In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0690_1_2_tonemapped.jpg

Kalvary Mount, Idukki

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0703.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0712.jpg

Idukki Town..

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0727.jpg

Idukki Dam..

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0731.jpg

Riding the rain, One terrific experience!

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0732.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0737.jpg

Last edited by MadBiker : 24th June 2011 at 10:30.
MadBiker is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 10:40   #6
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Ohhh boy, wonderful start. Keep going. Do update us with the route you took and other details.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aa_asif View Post
Hmmm... looks like there's lot on the way. Kerala looks the best during monsoons. You have an interesting list of photogears, Awaiting more kickass photos!

Cheers!
Thanks guys! Would update the logs when ever i find time..

This is the route map for the entire trip.. Kochi, Kerala to Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu - Google Maps
MadBiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 10:49   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
coolclouds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Garden City
Posts: 1,790
Thanked: 513 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Hi Ananth, Its really God's own country!! Excellent photographs and nice writeup. Keep them flowing. That Idukki " town" remain almost same as what I saw about 15-20 years back.
coolclouds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 13:09   #8
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolclouds View Post
Hi Ananth, Its really God's own country!! Excellent photographs and nice writeup. Keep them flowing. That Idukki " town" remain almost same as what I saw about 15-20 years back.
Thanks! As a matter of fact, Idukki remains to be secluded / protected from over commercialization (unlike Munnar) - which makes it even more appealing to me! Good if it stays that way, and remains an unspoilt place!
MadBiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 13:33   #9
BHPian
 
Ride_4_Fortune's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Chennai
Posts: 83
Thanked: 10 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Wonderful travelogue @MadBiker. Really enjoyed your pictures.

You have been to some of the beautiful places in the Western Ghats. Really worth driving on these terrains.
I had been to Vagamon, Kumily and Munnar last week on a ride. The nature is at its best during the monsoons. A motorcycle ride is a good way to enjoy the nature. Waiting for more pictures of your travel !
Ride_4_Fortune is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 13:54   #10
BHPian
 
BulZire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 348
Thanked: 132 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Nice Travelogue and superb pics, Congrats !!.
I see that you are using a upgraded rear Tyre on your ZMA. Can you share the specs and details of that Tyre , some feedback on it also would be helpful.

Last edited by BulZire : 24th June 2011 at 13:58.
BulZire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 14:17   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 2,534
Thanked: 984 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Amazing mate!! The pics and the narration as awesome. Please update the log soon and allow us to enjoy what you saw as well.

Also a write up on how the bike performed and issues if any that you faced with the bike along with the top speed attained, avg. speeds etc will be very helpful. Also how was the riding position and the manageability of the bike?
abhinav.s is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 17:13   #12
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Amazing mate!! The pics and the narration as awesome. Please update the log soon and allow us to enjoy what you saw as well.

Also a write up on how the bike performed and issues if any that you faced with the bike along with the top speed attained, avg. speeds etc will be very helpful. Also how was the riding position and the manageability of the bike?
Thanks Abhinav!

I have been riding (touring on) the ZMR for quite sometime now, So got used to / adjusted to the riding position and manageability. I dont ride fast, But Reached 132 Kmph from Chennai to Krishnagiri road and 127 Kmph from Madurai to Trichy road.

Bike performed almost perfectly, except in Munnar where some 2L of rain water dripped into the tank forcing me to stop in Pollachi to check the bike completely before proceeding.

Other than that the bike performed flawlessly, giving fuel efficiency about 40 kmpl+ in the hills and 35+ in the plains..

Quote:
Originally Posted by BulZire View Post
Nice Travelogue and superb pics, Congrats !!.
I see that you are using a upgraded rear Tyre on your ZMA. Can you share the specs and details of that Tyre , some feedback on it also would be helpful.
Thanks! I ride a ZMR, The Fuel Injeted version of the ZMA

Tyre Specifications :

Front : 2.75 - 18" - Michelin Sirac Sport (Dual Purpose Tyre)

Rear : 120 x 80 - 18" - Pirelli Sport Deamon

The tyres really performed amazingly. I lost concentration and slipped out of the road for a second near Idukki on Day 1 and the front tyre helped me stay in control (Had faced similar situation when on a MRF tyre and slipped!)

The rear was changed for better handling and breaking.. The Pirelli is very good for cornering and lived up to its price on wet roads as well! (I used to run on a Michelin Sirac which i used it for Leh / other off roading rides)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ride_4_Fortune View Post
Wonderful travelogue @MadBiker. Really enjoyed your pictures.

You have been to some of the beautiful places in the Western Ghats. Really worth driving on these terrains.
I had been to Vagamon, Kumily and Munnar last week on a ride. The nature is at its best during the monsoons. A motorcycle ride is a good way to enjoy the nature. Waiting for more pictures of your travel !
Thanks So much! Kerala indeed needs to be visited on 2 wheels to really enjoy and experience the freshness and vividness of the place..
MadBiker is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2011, 21:50   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 2,534
Thanked: 984 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadBiker View Post
Thanks Abhinav!
I have been riding (touring on) the ZMR for quite sometime now, So got used to / adjusted to the riding position and manageability. I dont ride fast, But Reached 132 Kmph from Chennai to Krishnagiri road and 127 Kmph from Madurai to Trichy road.
I just read your log about your 2010 trip in the link that you had posted. Kudos to you man. That was a heart warming read.

Happy to know that the bike performed flawlessly! Those are some really good top speeds that you have managed.
abhinav.s is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th June 2011, 08:14   #14
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default Re: In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
I just read your log about your 2010 trip in the link that you had posted. Kudos to you man. That was a heart warming read.

Happy to know that the bike performed flawlessly! Those are some really good top speeds that you have managed.
Thank you Abhinav. Glad you liked the log and pictures..

**Day 3's log would be posted soon..**
MadBiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th June 2011, 09:11   #15
BHPian
 
MadBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chennai
Posts: 180
Thanked: 218 Times
Default Day 3: 05 -June-2011 --- Majestic Munnar

Day 3: 05 -June-2011 --- Majestic Munnar


Last night’s tiring ride still got me in pains. I could not wake up before 8 AM. The stains of leech bites were still on the jeans and one of the places where it bit had swollen up. I did not know leech bites were this much of a problem. It is not the pain, but the discomfort that adds to it, and would feel as though something is irking you there all the time.

I went down to the restaurant, finished my breakfast by 8:30, and packed up my saddle. They promised me that my bike will be parked in a covered location, but when I came out of the hotel, I saw the bike still parked the way I had left it. This means it had absorbed all the rain and moisture from the previous night. Thankfully, the bike started in the first thumb press. By 9 AM I was off, rolling along the green estates of Munnar.

Though there were a lot and lot of stuff to see in Munnar, I had to limit my stops, as I wanted to hit Valparai or at least Pollachi for the night. Since there were no internet connections working anywhere I go in Kerala, I had to go into Tamil Nadu for updating the blog. The first few kilometres rolled on and then I started feeling some problem with the bike. The rain was back in full glory and I had forgotten to wear up my rain pants, so the boots too got fully wet. The issue is not in getting the riding gears wet, but to dry it up after it gets wet. My first stop was at Mattupatty Dam – 11 kilometres from Munnar town. As usual, I tried to stop around at unusual places to get a different view of the dam / places of interest. Since there were two other guys riding around Kerala I wanted to present Kerala the way it is, In a common or simple way than to visit a viewpoint and take 100 HDR’s of the same. Not that I could not take it, I can but I chose not to.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0050.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0053.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0064.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0068.jpg

After crossing the dam, few folks stopped me asking me to pay parking money. I told them I am not stopping and am visiting the Top Station. They told me it is a private road and everyone needs to pay. I laughed myself out when he said that, I removed my helmet gave him a piece of my mind stating that the Dam belongs to the government and so is the road on top of it. I would rather pay 1000 rupees for a person suffering on road than to pay 10 rupees for something that is unnecessary.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0082.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0095.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0103.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0110.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0112.jpg

Another few kilometres passed on, the rain did not stop but the traffic got immense around the boating centre and also the Echo-point. I did not want to stop there because of too much crowd and the possibility of unsafe parking lots. I reached Kundale Lake and traversed the small da around. I really liked the dam, it was small and beautiful and not many takers to enjoy the view of the dam.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0119.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0134.jpg

The mist started setting in as I started from Kundale, I knew the viewpoint at Top station is not going to help and I would have to trek at least for an hour to get to the top. I took a U-turn and went back the same route I came from. I was somewhat worried where the folks at the Dam would stop me again. Surprisingly, they smiled and waved at me while going back. So much respect for talking out the facts? I felt special! Then, I was back into Munnar town and took the other route towards Pollachi. I had already covered these places many a times and hence knew the route / directions.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0135.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0168.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0180.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0201.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0218.jpg

It was 11 AM, and I was hungry already. The climate was cold and my riding jacket, Wrangler denim was wet and cold. The denim atleast gave me some warmth but the jacket made me shivering. I stopped by the first village after munnar to have some tea. There was a private estate behind the shop, offering some splendid views and vistas. It was a huge green field with cows grazing and water running around. But, the entry was prohibited and the security would not let me take pictures from inside. My next stop was around Rajamalai. Every corner makes your heart melt, so much green and so much to see. Every angle makes you preserve the scenery on your eyes and no camera could photograph the actual beauty!

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0220.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0228.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0274.jpg

The terrain became worse, coupled with incessant rains – The bike started feeling unwell. The throttle response was poor and it was getting chocked whenever I rev more than 4k rpm. The next town, Marayoor was 25 kilometers away – I decided not to stop but the scenery demanded me to stop. I was somewhat afraid, what happens if my bike shuts down! So I had the ignition ON all the time. There was many, many waterfalls and water thundering down from the hills. Most of them are fed directly into the river and few more into the road, which deters the road conditions as well.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0295.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0299.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0339.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0344.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_03492.jpg

It was a challenging ride since most of the time I had to travel on first two gears and the bike starts wobbling and chocking if get on to the third gear. Did not stop much for the next 20 kilometres, reached Marayoor and was looking for a mechanic shop. I suspected the sir filter could have conked off or some water in fuel line. The mechanic told me the bike is overheated because of poor engine oil and asked me to replace it immediately. I changed it to an ELF 20 W 40, as nothing else as available in that town. The carbon deposit on the sparkplug was too much and replaced the plugs as well. The mechanic suspected the engine head or oil seal would have damaged hence not allowing the bike to perform normally. Tightened the chain and moved on after an hour.

It was 1:30 PM and I quickly had some snacks to munch on. The decent started and the bike behaved the same or rather the top end improved a little. I still suspected water in fuel line. I had to halt in Pollachi to sort it out. I have faced mechanical issues in pollachi in the past and hence knew the mechanic there as well. It took me about 3 hours to reach the last 60 kilometres, as I went slow and steadily Even the long free straights from Udumalpet to Pollachi covering through the wind mills had to covered slow, if not would have been in the three digit speeds much easier. I reached Pollachi by 4:30 PM and took a room near the bus stand. Thankfully, the data card was working. Logged on to the internet started uploading the pictures in queue and I came out looking for the mechanic.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0382-2.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0393.jpg

I did not know that it was a Sunday, and hence all shops were closed. I called my friend Keerthy (Pollachi xbhpian) to help me out. My shoes were wet, so are my dresses. I kept my wet dresses and shoes for drying in the sit out area and waited for Keerthy to join me. I asked him to get a pair of sneakers or a normal shoe, which I could use, in the trip. I could have bought one, but the shops are all closed. Keerthy had called the mechanic to open up his shop and informed that we are coming to check it out. I met Keerthy outside my hotel, and went to the mechanic shop. Explained what happened and he simply pointed out the fuel lid has some gap and hence water would have gone in. In fact, the air filter too had some stagnant water! He cleared up things in about couple of hours and we found 2 litres of water inside the tank! I know I would not get the fuel lid, but searched for the ring around it. It was not available in Pollachi and need to check on my way tomorrow.

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0421.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0433.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0454.jpg

In Search Of “The God” – In God’s Own Country, Kerala-img_0495.jpg

Another dramatic day, But the bike performs well now. I had to skip Valparai as I’m running out of time and to spend much more time in Kerala. I went to Keerthy’s home for dinner. Met another friend and were chatting around for some time. It became late and I had to rush back to the room. I was tired as usual and crashed as soon as i knew I was on the bed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Kilometres: ~ 200
Fuel:– Not topped up
Food: 300 Rupees
Accommodation: 420
Best Moment of the day: Riding across the green farms and tea estates of Munnar.
Worst Moment of the day: Bike getting chocked and started emitting white smoke around Eravikulam.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MadBiker is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
God's Own Country, Linea T-Jet, Devil's Own Roads and Meen Pollichathu palitrana Travelogues 32 18th February 2014 17:35
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable... mclaren1885 Travelogues 59 30th September 2009 23:48
Visit to God's own Country - Kerala neoonwheels Travelogues 30 20th October 2008 13:56
A drive through God's own country deepakhon Travelogues 21 2nd February 2008 14:17
Weekend Travelogue: Wayanad (My First Step to God's Own Country) akroy Travelogues 18 20th April 2007 13:48


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 21:03.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks