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Old 1st October 2012, 22:23   #1
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Default 2 Yammies, One Place : Sri Sailam

It's been slightly over a year ever since I moved to Hyderabad, and around 10 months ever since I got my hands on my bike here, which happens to be my second bike (my first love is still at home, in Chennai). Chennai had a lot of places in the vicinity, which are perfect for road trips. I could never manage one there, primarily because I was at HOME, and parents were always against riding bikes on highways. My only "long" trips, if I can put it that way, were my trips to college, which I used to do if I missed my bus (which again, I did on purpose, aplenty ).

Fast forward a few months. Hyderabad, first job, a new place, and a whole new experience. The first thing on my mind, ever since my salary started flowing in, was to get a bike. A sports bike. I had always been drooling over the green Ninja 250R that used to be on display at a Pro Biking showroom in Adyar, Chennai. Well, it so happened that it was still beyond my reach. Moved on, with a heavy heart. Next on my list was the R15. The V2.0 had just released at that point in time, and I had read a lot of positive reviews about the older version. I was pretty much sold on it. Went ahead and grabbed it, and was delivered the bike on the same day (was very, very lucky, considering the demand for it at that point in time!)

Fast Forward to present. My daily trips with my R15 were pretty much limited to my daily shuttles between work and home, and the total distance was not more than 7KMs. Initial research done by me didn't show a lot of interesting places to visit in and around Hyderabad (If there are, please do share ). So my riding was limited to malls/theatres/eateries, apart from the daily commute to work. I clearly wasn't doing enough justice to my steed.

Come 25th September, 2012. I was browsing through a random travelogue on the internet, where a person had penned down his experiences during his trip to Sri Sailam. The images were absolutely stunning. Driving through a natural tiger reserve, and then the icing on the cake were the ghat roads that await you towards the fag end. And to top it all, it was only around 240 KMS from Hyderabad.

Called up a colleague of mine, who was as crazy as me when it came to bikes.
The conversation was over in 2 minutes flat. We were doing it. We were doing it on the 30th. It had to be a one day trip, as my colleague works at the plant, while I work at the HQ, and hence I had a five day week. So it would be around 500KMs in a single day. Read in quite a few places online that doing it in a single day might be a bit hectic, and that too on a bike, would be all the more tiring. A couple of people whom I asked also answered in the negative.

It took us only a couple of reads about Saddlesores that people have successfully completed to go ahead with the trip. With proper planning, we decided that this is definitely achievable.

30th September, 2012

I'd camped at my friends place for the previous night. We decided to start at 4AM sharp.

(Sorry for the poor quality. My phone just doesn't cut it in low light)

My Colleague
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Yours Truly
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We were on the dot. Left Kukatpally at 4AM, and reached the airport (Shamshabad, RGIA), at around 4 45AM. Lost some time since my friend had taken a wrong turn at the junction just before the place where the PV Narasimha Rao expressway ends.

We caught up at the airport, and from there on, it was sedate riding. The weather was chilling, and we were riding at a sedate 70-75 KM/Hr. We reached the Sri Sailam highway at around 5AM, and headed straight on.

The Sri Sailam highway is a single lane SH. The road is good for most part, barring a few uncalled-for spead breakers that you will encounter till Dindi.

We took turns in being the pilot. I would lead for 15 minutes, and then my friend would take over. We were doing a steady 75 KM/Hr by now, and were covering good ground.

We were getting some respite from the Sun, that was lazily crawling it's way up wards. This is when we got a glimpse of the beautiful curves that lay ahead, waiting to be devoured. If these roads were so beautiful, I wondered what lay in store for us as we rode further down, towards Sri Sailam.

We soon hit the right that was to be taken to proceed towards Dindi. Stopped for a quick snap.

Me, posing with the two steeds.

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Road to Dindi

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We rode on, now, maintaining good speeds, mostly in the range of 90 KM/Hr. The roads, barring a few potholes, and speed breakers, were quite good. We both were cruising at around 90 KM/Hr for most part. Reached Dindi at around 6 30AM. Rode on, as we weren't that hungry at that point in time. The roads after Dindi, were truly a driver's delight. Sparse traffic, reasonably well maintained, and scenic. Enjoyed the ride for the next half an hour.

We then stopped at a random tea shop on the highway for a quick cup of tea. Sri Sailam was still around 100 KMs away.

Posing after satiating our growling stomachs, with hot cups of tea
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My friend scrambles away to check out of there is a secret village of sorts on the other side
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A quick stop to give the bikes a bit of rest
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We actually panic braked to capture this sight
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We rode on, maintaining speeds of 70 KM/Hr, relishing every square inch of the surroundings.

We began seeing boards that welcomed us to the tiger reserve. Crossed a couple of check posts. We weren't stopped at any for any sort of checks. Rode straight into the reserve. This is where it got amazing. I'll let a few pictures do the talking.

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At the Dam :
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We finally stopped for breakfast. Had a plate of Idly, while my friend munched on Puris. The Puri tasted good. The coconut chutney that was served along with the Idly was too spicy!

Our pit stop
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As we rode a bit further, we noticed a thick, red rope that was tied across the highway. A group of people were standing, and they stopped us (We were travelling one day after the immersion of Lord Ganesha, so the highway was full of Eichers ferrying people to and from Sri Sailam, who were singing and dancing all the way)

We obviously wouldn't be allowed without parting with some cash. So me and my friend paid up, they took our signatures on a booklet, and wished us a happy journey!

Our next stop would be the temple at Sri Sailam. We decided to have a quick darshan (yes, people would probably laugh at the word "quick", especially when you expect that on a Sunday).

We reached Sri Sailam at around 8 30AM. Finding our way to the temple was quite simple. The signboards were clear, and in abundance.

The 100/- line at the temple
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We decided against waiting in the line, as we had planned to cover 75% of the return journey in broad daylight, and the length of the line easily suggested a waiting period of 3+ Hours. So, with a heavy heart, we moved on.

We visited the AP Tourism Complex, that is a few meters away from the temple, to check out the ropeway.

We took tickets for both the ropeway, and the boat ride. (Both didn't cost more than 50/- per adult).

We were really keen on visiting the Akka Mahadevi caves, but apparently the Supreme Court has ordered a stay on the visits to the cave, due to pollution caused by visitors.

So off we go, on the ropeway!

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The ropeway took us straight to the docks, where the boats were anchored. We flashed out tickets, and were led to a huge boat. We expected the small, round, boats that were scattered around the lake. But apparently, the ticket that we bought was for the big boat. Nowhere was the type of the boat mentioned!

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The entire boat was nearly filled with one huge family that was from the North. They seemed to be having a lot of fun. Except for the fact that it was not so much fun for the rest of us at the counter, since they'd blocked the counter for 30 full minutes, arguing over how many tickets were to be booked, and even asking for a discount!. I mean, the fare as such is very nominal. Needless to say, they didn't get a single paisa off! The group had a gala time on the boat though, and me and my friend were the de facto photographers for all the young couples in the family.

Here are some more pictures of the lake :

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On returning back to the shore, we spoke to the guys at the counter, who told us that the small boats can be hired "unofficially". So we got them for a fare of 75/- each, and the guy took us on another trip around the lake. He was telling us about the Akka Mahadevi caves. You are taken there by a boat, and it is so dark inside that you apparently have to take candles with you. Cursed the Supreme Court on hearing his description of the caves.

We finally finished our boat rides, and decided to head for lunch, as our stomachs were making all sorts of weird noises. It was around 12 30PM. We took the ropeway back (and the return queue for the ropeway was HUGE. We spent nearly 40 minutes in the line).

We landed at the AP Tourism restaurant (I think it's called the Ganga Restaurant), and were greeted by a nonchalant guy at the reception, who coolly told us that nothing is available. Irritated, we walked out, and checked out a couple of other hotels. None had meals available. Finally, there was a hotel that we found which had meals readily available. We helped ourselves, and sat down outside for sometime. My back side was already paining, thanks to the non-existent cushion that the R15's seat has. It is nearly as hard as steel. The wrist pain was slowly showing up.

We then went to the tribal museum, where my friend bought a bottle of honey. The museum is famous for selling the purest form of honey. A bottle costs Rs 137/- (500 gms).

We then decided to head back to Hyderabad. My tank was now half full, so filled up at the IOC near the temple, and we were ready to go.

There was this waterfalls that was slightly off course, that we wanted to check out, but was later removed from our plans, since we took a wrong turn during our descent, which cost us nearly an hour, and one hour on an R15 simply adds up to the tally of back+wrist+shoulder pains.

We were now doing pretty good speeds, riding non stop towards Hyderabad. We decided that we would stop at Dindi (which is around 110 KMs from Hyderabad). The pains slowly started building up, and the shoulder pain was now more evident. I had to quick exercises while riding to get temporary relief.

On our way back, we were accompanied by Eichers and Qualis' ferrying people who had come for the immersion. They would dance and cheer whenever we would overtake. There was this Qualis though, that was parked on the side, and there was this guy who was standing right in the middle of the road. I was doing around 80ish, and honked twice. He didn't budge, which he was doing on purpose. I was quite close to him when I applied my brakes. He jabbered something in Telugu, which i couldn't follow. I just gave him a cold stare and moved on. The things people do when they are in such big groups, especially during festivals, are sometimes atrocious.

With pains slowly building up all over our bodies, the scenic highways didn't appeal to us anymore. We just wanted to get rid of them, and were eagerly awaiting the sight of RGIA. Stopped at Dindi for a couple of Bajjis, and a Maaza. (and they were VERY spicy!). We then rode off, non stop, to Hyderabad.

Reached RGIA at around 8PM, and were at Banjara Hills at 8 30PM. As luck would have it, heavy rain added to our miseries, and to top it all, there was a ridiculous traffic jam, since a few flyovers were blocked (Probably due to the T-Bandh). We drudged along, drearily, with every finger begging for mercy, as they were continuously engaging and releasing the clutch. We had no choice.

After pottering around in first gear for nearly 20 minutes, there was some respite when the traffic opened up a bit. We rode on, and finally reached Kukatpally at around 9 15PM.

We had covered 550 KMs in total
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Total Distance Covered : 550 KMs (Around 30-40 KMs extra due to a wrong turn we took)

Mileage returned (R15) : 37.78 KMPL.

How did the bike behave? : Clinical, to say the least. Excellent handling, adequate power on tap, and excellent cruising speeds. A brilliant piece of engineering altogether (No marks for the guy who designed the seats of this bike though.). The FZ too was excellent in it's behaviour, though my friend suffered the same body pains as me.

Body pains? : Oh yes! Shoulder pain (which was searing once we reached home), and mild pain in the wrists. Both disappeared magically once I woke up the next day.

So there you have it, my first long ride in AP ghats on a bike, something I've always wanted to do, and boy, wasn't it fun!

Last edited by GTO : 3rd October 2012 at 15:37. Reason: No mention of high speeds on public roads please. It's against our rules
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Old 3rd October 2012, 15:37   #2
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Default Re: 2 Yammies, One Place : Sri Sailam

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd October 2012, 17:15   #3
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Default Re: 2 Yammies, One Place : Sri Sailam

Loved reading your travelogue FOW, lovely pics to go with the narration too, thanks for sharing. Unfortunate that you could not visit the temple, anyways, there is always a next time !
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Old 3rd October 2012, 19:13   #4
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Default Re: 2 Yammies, One Place : Sri Sailam

Kudos - from a fellow biker!! Well written travelogue. Nice pictures too! The ride, the scenery and the adventure of the ride simply cures the pain! 550 km is quite a lot! Really awesome. Me too am just waiting for my next long ride. Your logue has inspired me to take a ride to Chandoli national park in Maharashtra. Been wanting to go for quite sometime. Its almost 600 km in total! Hopefully will happen this or next month!

Keep riding! Cheers mate.
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Old 6th October 2012, 01:19   #5
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Default Re: 2 Yammies, One Place : Sri Sailam

Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
Kudos - from a fellow biker!! Well written travelogue. Nice pictures too! The ride, the scenery and the adventure of the ride simply cures the pain! 550 km is quite a lot! Really awesome. Me too am just waiting for my next long ride. Your logue has inspired me to take a ride to Chandoli national park in Maharashtra. Been wanting to go for quite sometime. Its almost 600 km in total! Hopefully will happen this or next month!

Keep riding! Cheers mate.
Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
Loved reading your travelogue FOW, lovely pics to go with the narration too, thanks for sharing. Unfortunate that you could not visit the temple, anyways, there is always a next time !

Thanks guys! It was truly a day that I enjoyed, even though I could not make it to two of the places I really wanted to visit : First one being the temple, and the second one, being the Akka Mahadevi Caves.

The roads to Sri Sailam are truly a driver's delight! You'll love it all the more if you're on two wheels, and this part of AP is currently being blessed with excellent climate. If you've got a bike and some free time, you should try it out if you haven't already

The R15 made it all the more pleasant throughout, with it's gem of an engine. (It wasn't so easy on the body though!)
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