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Old 26th April 2013, 03:24   #1
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Default Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

Statutory Warning:
Being a newbie, kindly highlight on where I should improve. I would love to have some comments from the experts.
Why?
The question that needs to be answered first and foremost is WHY should I be writing this? My answers to this question are as follows,
  • Being a constant follower of Team-bhp and a regular subscriber to the Travelogue section, I would love to contribute my part.
  • Though this material was not intended to be a travelogue or neither do I know whether this qualifies to be a travelogue, I hope this might be at least a small help to at least someone who is planning to pay a visit to this place.
  • The place and the ride were awesome for me.
  • I had done this trip solo on ‘THE FASTEST INDIAN’ (or at least bajaj claims so).
To start with ..
They say 'Life is Wonderful' and I would like to correct it as
Quote:
Life is Wonderful as long as you are in a well to do situation financially
I say this because I have been eyeing on good number of motorbikes but never in my life was I able to buy one. Each and every time there would be something (financially) stopping me. But the best part is that, I also enjoy not having a bike since the saying goes like 'You can date with all the girls in the town, as long as you are single'. I am also in such a situation. I don’t own a bike of my own so I bank on my cousin’s, good buddies for their beautiful machines to have some good time, going somewhere etc. So technically I’m dating all the girls in the town .
So the fact is that I had a chance to lay my hands on some of the most wonderful bikes available across the country, you name it from TVS 50 (moped) to the Bajaj Pulsar 220Fi. Hence I consider myself very lucky. For this particular location that I am going to write about, I had two options in front of me: BAJAJ PULSAR 150 and BAJAJ PULSAR 220Fi.
Tribute to my old Buddy:
Speaking about Bajaj Pulsar 150, the bike belonged to my cousin and is a decade old. It can be called rightly called as the big daddy of all the Pulsar’s running around on road today. It was bought in Aug’2003. So literally its a decade old, but the condition of the bike is remarkable and my cousin had never allowed anyone, other than his close buddies to touch the bike until recent times. I really love this bike, for it had never troubled me except for a clutch failure once. I guess I was the first man in the family who got a chance to take that pulsar and keep it to myself for months together. I love the shape and looks of this bike which was once up on a time, my dream bike.
Attached Thumbnails
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0027.jpg  


Last edited by voyageur : 26th April 2013 at 17:19.
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Old 26th April 2013, 12:20   #2
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Default re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

So when I was happy cruising around on P150, my friend from Middle East had come and while paying a visit to him, I did notice his sparkling red Pulsar 220Fi. He had come for a short visit and told me he would be going back soon. While the casual talks proceeded, I came to know that the 220Fi would be a ‘Damsel in Distress’ lying lonely in a corner of his car-porch. After he left, there was no one to ride her around. Exactly then I remembered that I wanted to give my P150 for a service, so I gathered courage to ask him for his bike for a period of 10 days after he had gone. He said ‘Fine!’ but with a slight hesitation.
After he left, the next week I got his bike home. The time I was assured that I can have his bike, I had made up my mind to do a solo trip. I had number of places in my mind and Kerala is blessed with beauty and lush greenery.
Where?
I had a list of available options and couldn’t finalize on anything. Initially I thought of doing a trip to Ooty and come back via Coimbatore-Valparai-Trissur-Allepey. Then there was Athirapally falls, Bolgatti Palace, Neyyar Dam, kanyakumari and the list goes on and on. But then due to some technical problems, which I will of course mention towards the end, I had to select something short and something which I could complete in a day.
It is only then I started searching for options nearby and Thenmala and Palaruvi falls came up. Thenmala is known for its Dam and Palaruvi falls (Meaning Stream of Milk), I have just heard of it. First thing I did is gathered some informations regarding the place from people. Most of them told me that, Thenmala is a spot for eco-tourism and told me it’s a good place to visit. So plans had concreted and preparations began. The bike was new and had clocked 7,500 kms and was serviced very recently like a month back. All I was left to do I guess,was check the tire pressure, the effective functioning of the brakes and applying lubes for the chain and sprocket for smooth running. [/FONT]

Map showing Kayamkulam-Thenmala-Palaruvi Falls

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My Buddies
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_20111130-08.44.24.jpg




Attached Thumbnails
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_20111130-14.42.02.jpg  

Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0119.jpg  


Last edited by voyageur : 26th April 2013 at 17:38.
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:03   #3
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Default re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

I had to hit the roads by 7.00-7.30am in the morning at least that was the plan. But in reality I started my bike at 8.30am and my original journey began by 9.00am. The traffic was commendable and that was something I expected due to late schedule. The journey towards Thenmala was around 88 + kms from my place and the route was like
Kayamkulam(20kms)- Noornad (17kms)- Adoor (38kms)-Pathanapuram (62kms)-Punalur(78 kms)-Thenmala Dam(94 kms)
(Please excuse me because the figures are just approximations, It’s been a year and half. But I can assure you that the actual kilometres are a little more than that given in Google Maps)
Though in the above flowchart, the kms are less but to cover this little figure, we need a lot of time. These are major towns of that place and the traffic is good in all the times except in the afternoon (1400 -1600 hrs).
It was a pleasure because Pulsar 220Fi was munching miles with ease. You can just do 80-100kmph without any strain on the bike or your wrist. I kept the bike constantly running between 60-80 kmph wherever I could. I had reached Adoor by 10.15 and I just continued with my ride towards Pathanapuram. The road from Adoor to Pathanapuram was horrible. Those 16-20 km stretch was the worst in the whole journey. Due to an unexpected event (which I will mention towards the end), I had to stop for 10-15 min at Pathanapuram. Then I resumed again and hit Punalur and took off to Thenmala.
I reached Thenmala by 11.45am and bad news was that the dam was closed for visitors that day. There was some sort of security issues and they told me they cannot let me in. I really wanted to see the dam and the surrounding places but BAD LUCK! There were places developed for tourism like jungle safari etc but I chose not to go. Instead I thought of touching Palaruvi falls as early as possible. The time spent there and the pictures taken there were very less, which I hopefully plan to compensate on the next trip.
Thenmala Dam from the outside

Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0058.jpg
Way to Palaruvi Falls
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0062.jpg

Eco-Tourism and Adventure Zone (Boards)

Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0064.jpg


After spending some possible time there, I started on towards Palaruvi Falls. The roads towards Palaruvi Falls were decent. I don't exactly remember the time I took for reaching the mentioned place but the way confused me a bit. My eyes were searching around for sign-boards and now I don't remember if I missed out sign boards or was it the scarcity of the sign-boards, I traveled 3 kms in the wrong side.



As soon as I got a doubt, I used my weapon (tounge) to verify if I'm headed right. The people there guided me to the correct location with a smile. I thanked them as I left and in a few minutes I was there. Rest would be explained by the pictures.

Towards Palaruvi Falls
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0065.jpg

Small Stream of Water body
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0068.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0069.jpg  

Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0071.jpg  


Last edited by voyageur : 26th April 2013 at 18:18.
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:45   #4
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Default re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

I reached Palaruvi Falls and I was really happy to see those falls. It was in a secluded location and void of much human interference. But now Kerala government is trying to improve tourism here. That particular day I had a lot of company. There was a college which had organised a tour to these falls, then some foreigners and regular tourists.
I spent sometime around watching the water gushing through the mountains, taking some pictures and getting uphill to get a closer view of the falls. There were places where you can have a swim in the fall and I could see college students having a great time in the water. Those took me back to memories of my college days, and happiness that I used to have spending time with my friends.


On reaching Palaruvi Falls

Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0072.jpg


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After hanging out for some time, I planned to wind up and leave towards home. That would mark the end of a small solo trip. That was my plan, But god had other plans. I think a better one.
Attached Thumbnails
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0086.jpg  


Last edited by voyageur : 26th April 2013 at 18:48.
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Old 27th April 2013, 01:21   #5
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Default re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

On my way back from Palaruvi falls, there was a person who asked me for a lift to a near-by place. The place was on my way back, so with pleasure I told him to be my pillion. On the process of getting to know each other, he advised me to pay a visit to Courtallam Falls. He suggested me that I go there as it was just 15 min away from the place I was. That was really close and I gave a thought on why not? No reasons for not going. so finally it was
SOLO RIDE TO THENMALA DAM, PALARUVI FALLS AND COURTALLAM FALLS!




The map changed as below.
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I left that place waving a hand to that man who suggested me the place. To reach Courtallam falls, I had to cross Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and from there I had a little distance to cover as per that person's descriptions. I soon reached the Check-point, successfully crossed the border and I had to descend the hair-pin bends. I stopped there for a while to give the bike a little rest.
Again in a while I was on the road, after descending the mountains, the view were fantastic. I had to stop along in between just to click some pictures. After all the photo sessions, I seriously began riding without stops. It was noon and I started feeling hungry. 15 min passed, 30 min passed and 45 min passed but no signs of Courtallam falls. I was just doing 60 kmhr or little more as the road was new and full of surprises. Finally after driving for an hour or so I reached a nearby town called Shenkottai. I stopped by a hotel to have some food before I proceed towards Courtallam. But unfortunately it was Sabarimala season (Period when Sabarimala Temple in Kerala opens and there are thousands of devotee’s who come to visit this temple during this period). All the hotels were full and they told me that I have to wait for another 30-45 min for getting a seat. I started my bike and left for Courtallam Falls which is 8 kms away from the place. The road was narrow and the ride was as slow as 40-50kmph.
Attached Thumbnails
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0089.jpg  

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Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0099.jpg  

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Old 27th April 2013, 01:33   #6
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Default re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

Finally I reached Courtallam Falls by 1500 hrs. There too a huge surprise in the form of crowd waited me. Again the devotee’s to Sabarimala temple. Initially I had parked the bike a little away from the place, there were teenagers around the bike when I looked back. For safety, I had to reposition my parking spot a bit. I left it opposite to a near-by shop, from where I bought mineral water to drink and politely asked the shopkeeper to keep an eye on the bike.



I walked towards the place and the falls were filled with a sea of people. They were talking a dip as a part of their journey to Sabarimala temple I guess. I managed to take some pictures but the crowd really made me uncomfortable. Going on top also was prohibited during that time. I had no other option but to leave now. I just ran back to my bike and looking at the time I realised I was really late. I drove my back to the nearby hotel and for namesake had something to keep me away from starvation and soon I was driving my way back to my place.


People enjoying Courtallam Falls ( Mostly devotees)
Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0103.jpg


Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0104.jpg


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Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0106.jpg


Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls-tn_dscn0107.jpg





I thank my bike P220Fi for its support during the return. There were loads of horses available as mentioned in the spec sheet and whenever I had the feeling that I had to push forward the run, I would roll on the throttle and enjoy its available-uncontrolled acceleration. I truly understood the need of a powerful bike during a long trip. Had it been the P150, I would have been hit by fatigue and tiredness. The P220Fi responded well, inspired confidence on the way back and at some stages had me doing triple digits on the speedo, which is highly not recommended on those streach of roads.


I reached Adoor by 1830 hrs and marked completion to my trip by 1945 hrs as I reached my HOME SWEET HOME! The return was of quicker pace with almost zero stops for taking stills and the ride too was a little high paced one. In total, 367.8 kms were clocked on the trip meter.


Hope you all liked the place and write up. Thanks to the mods for helping me out in between.
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Old 27th April 2013, 01:38   #7
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Default re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

Though there must be umpteen number of reviews and write ups about the P220Fi I would also like to add my own version of what I felt about the bike in the limited 10-12 days along with the technical problems that I faced.
In the Initial days of biking on P220Fi,
  • One fine morning the bike wouldn’t start, I checked the fuel flow and spark plugs. They were working quite fine. Then I approached a local mechanic, who couldn’t find out what it is. I had to take it local Bajaj Service Centre. There even before I could notice he had fixed it up with a Screw Driver, I asked him for what the problem was but he just avoided my question. As I was about to take the bike back, he asked me to leave the bike for a day there. He told me that he had done only a small adjustment and he needs to do a little more work on it. He told me if I hadn’t left the bike there, high chances that bike would break down on the way. I didn’t want to take a risk. I did what he said and returned next day to find that the fuel was just the half of what was there the last day. I asked them and they had number of excuses and I was helpless as bike wasn’t registered in my name.
  • After a couple of days, I was with my father in a distant village to meet one of my relatives. It was night and while we were going to return from their place, the bike wouldn’t start again. I was stranded this time as this was a distant village and no one to help. Then with a little help I just went to a nearby town and searched for a bike mechanic. With a lot of difficulty after hour and half, a mechanic guy came to the spot. He asked me the whereabouts of the bike and again with a small screwdriver he just fixed the stuff up. The bike started as usual. I asked him about the problem, he showed me the rubber on the pipe connecting the chamber. He told that the rubber was not fixed properly and he fixed it well. He took a small ride and enumerated the faults of the bike. I had to pay him 10 times of what is required and we left from there.
  • I had to take it to workshops and service centres number of time in those 10 days. I shelled out a good amount for P220Fi for that limited time. I am not bothered about the money but a bike so new, should have never had these problems is what I feel. May be its just this bike, I’m not sure.
Some Pros that I felt:
  • Seating positioning and ergonomics is good. It is a good tourer and has a sport bike feeling also.
  • Proved fuel efficient for me (around 42 kmpl for long trip and around 38 kmpl for my daily use)
  • Uncontrolled acceleration available at a roll of throttle which I personally enjoyed. Just roll the throttle and feel the wind under the wings.
  • Cheap and easily available spares.
  • No false neutrals at all throughout. Gear shifts were positive and pleasant.
  • Last but not the least, Looks awesome. With just the Pilot lamps switched on in the evening it was pleasure to watch this bike coming from a distance.
Cons :
  • Reliability factor was lacking as in an International Bike manufacturer like Yamaha or Honda.
  • Braking was not confidence inspiring especially the back brakes were very less efficient.
  • Cornering would remain a dream as centre stand creates a big drama.

Last edited by voyageur : 27th April 2013 at 01:43.
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Old 27th April 2013, 14:50   #8
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Default re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

nicely written. nice pics.

When was this trip done ? Reason : Palaruvi waterfall has a lot of water, not so common in this peak summer time.

P220 is an awesome bike and I so like the dynamics;
FI does not exist if I am not wrong.
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Old 27th April 2013, 18:40   #9
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Default Re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

Quote:
Originally Posted by figo_mba View Post
nicely written. nice pics.

When was this trip done ? Reason : Palaruvi waterfall has a lot of water, not so common in this peak summer time.

P220 is an awesome bike and I so like the dynamics;
FI does not exist if I am not wrong.
Hi Figo,

I am happy you liked it . The trip was done in dec-2011.

The bike is actually Pulsar 220F Dts-i which I shortly wrote as P220Fi
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Old 28th April 2013, 21:53   #10
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Default Re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

Superb writeup buddy. Read it fully and enjoyed every bit of it. I could sense the thrill of a solo ride all throughout your words.

Looks like the Damsel in distress came for an expensive date with you.
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Old 28th April 2013, 22:13   #11
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Default Re: Solo Bike Ride To Thenmala, Palaruvi Falls & Courtallam Falls

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBrad View Post
Superb writeup buddy. Read it fully and enjoyed every bit of it. I could sense the thrill of a solo ride all throughout your words.

Looks like the Damsel in distress came for an expensive date with you.
Thanks Brad,

I am happy you liked my write up. It was really a fun, but risky too at the same time. I had some incidents which scared me but finally everything turned out well. I'm not sure it's particularly this damsel which is too expensive.

Plan for something and we will go together. I have a long list of places to go.

Cheers
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