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Old 16th August 2014, 23:29   #1
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Default A Journey to God: Chennai to Tirupati & Sriharikota

This was during one of the winter breaks in our college. While rest of the university goes home for the break, we stay back because we are a part of the BAJA team. So this was during one of those times, we had finished much of the work and had nothing much to do for the next three-four days.

So that night, when I was just out of a movie, waiting at the Chetpet local railway station in Chennai for the last local to take me to SRM, an hours journey away, I get a call from Sai Pavan (the guy in the red pullover in the 4th pic). Out of nowhere we decide to ride to Tirupati. I tell him Iíll be in the college in an hour and he says heíll try arranging the bikes till then.

Now usually when you need a bike in a hostel, itís not a big deal. But this was winter break and most of the people were home. So arranging a bike was really difficult. The ones we had werenít reliable enough to last 10 kilometres.

So at around 2 in the night, we met at Varunís (the guy in the blue jacket in the 4th pic) place. Situation was we had not enough bikes and the plan seemed off. We were too tired so went to sleep at Varunís place itself. Then at about 4 in the morning, I see Akshay (leftmost guy in the 6th pic) awake, staring at his phone. I asked him why he wasnít sleeping (the actual fact being he barely sleeps for more than two hours every day). And Sai replied that he couldnít sleep. Then Nitin (Green checks shirts in 4th pic) and then Asseem (Rightmost guy in 4th pic).

Suddenly Sai gets up and heís like we promised to go to Tirupati and we went back on our words. That is why the God wonít let us sleep. I was like mehÖ but then I really wanted to go on a road trip. And then Sai said, ĎLetís go to Tirupati. Iíll get my head shaved for the wish that we win the BAJA this year as well.í (We were the defending champions for that year).

So we took the bikes we had, which werenít reliable for even 10 kilometres and headed to the automobile lab and mini-serviced the bikes. At about 4 30 we started from the college and reached the nearest petrol pump, barely 7 kilometres away. By now fumes were coming out of my Pulsarís engine. We tanked up, I changed the oil and we headed onwards telling myself that automobile engineers donít give a shit to unreliable vehicles, they take care of it on the way.

After an hour when I was confident the oil was doing its work and the engine was running fine now, we stopped for a drag at an empty signal. Though Iíd never recommend anyone doing anything like that, we were doing it to find out of the three Pulsars we had, which performed the best. One was 220, the others were 180. One ran on a K&N filter and another on a BMC. The K&N had the best pickup but the K&N was good for the long run.

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Soon we left the highway. The scenery improved a lot with the mist slowly disappearing. Below is the route we took. Traffic was very light and the roads are good but not that great.

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Soon we saw a marvellous marble structure on our right and took a detour to find out what it was. I still have no clue which temple it is (picture below) but Sai told me that there was a priest inside who granted people their wishes. We tried going in but it was closed. Secret still remains buried. Any BHPians here know about the temple or the story behind the priest?

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Within no time we were at Tirupati. Next was the climb to Tirumala. Now we decided we would follow all the proper rituals and rules and reach the top the way we were supposed to. So we took off our footwear, parked our bikes nearby and started the climb by foot. Even before we started our feet were greeted by cold and refreshing water. The climb wasnít tough and we made our way quickly towards the temple.

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On the way there was this stream passing by on our left. It had stones stocked up in piles all along its length. We didnít know the meaning of it but since we were determined to do it as methodically as possible. We rolled our pants up and started with the stones. The feeling of the cold water through your tired feet is unexplainable.

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On our way we also saw these small waterfalls that had really really cold water on our way. I still have no clue why throughout our climb, the water was always cold and somehow seemed refreshing. Just a touch of the water seemed to energize you.

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Then we reached this staircase where you are supposed to climb to the top on your knees. It has about 600 steps and not many people make it to the top on the knees. Again, as determined as we were, we started off. The first ten steps were easy, and then you realise what 600 steps means. By 100, everyone had quit except me and Sai. Varun, who was the official moral support of the team, got behind our back and started encouraging us. ĎIt was for the car, it was for the championship!í I have no clue how, but Sai and I completed the 600 steps on our knees.

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Soon we reached the temple, offered our prayers, Sai shaved off his hair and we stayed overnight. Next morning, we decided to visit Tada falls. Now I really love jeeps and love is an understatement. And there were these MM540s that took people down all the time. Damn, I even saw a Willyís! I didnít care how much it cost, we were taking a Jeep on the way down. There were literally nothing but stones to stop you from going over the cliffs and the driver was probably a distant cousin of Rajnikant. The way he turned and with what speed, it is crazy Indians arenít winning WRC!

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Next we set off with the three Ďnow reliableí Pulsars and the lone Avenger. On our way we met some people who told us that Tada falls would be closed by the time we reach there so we took another way. We were already at Sullurpeta. And Sai lived in Sriharikota. So we made a detour to Sriharikota through a beautiful road with the Pulicat Lake on both the sides. The ride there is so amazing, I promised I would come back on this road soon.

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We reached the Sriharikota space centre. Though Saiís dad is a scientist there, we didnít have permissions to go inside. Some other time we thought and went on our way back to Sullurpeta. Just then we saw a guy sitting idly on a boat. Sai asked us if we wanted to go on a boat ride and we were like damn, why not. We got off our bikes and onto the boat.

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The Pulicat Lake is actually barely more than 3 ft. deep for kilometres. Soon it was getting dark and we got on our bikes to our way home. The ride through the beautiful road with the lake on both sides which I wanted to get back to was hell. My helmet had no visor and the road was literally filled with insects. I am pretty sure Iíd have eaten at least ten to fifteen of them. I was riding on zero visibility, literally just following Asseemís tail light. I vowed never to come back on this road. Not without a visor at least.

By nightfall we were back to the college and into our beds. Our journey to meet God was finally complete. Just in case anyone is wondering, no we couldnít retain the championship title that year!

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Old 20th August 2014, 15:51   #2
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Default Re: A Journey to God: Chennai to Tirupati & Sriharikota

Nice little travelogue. Makes me feel like getting on a bike and going for a long ride immediately! Some of the roads are very inviting.

On a more serious note, please get yourself a new helmet with a visor.
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Old 20th August 2014, 17:44   #3
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Default Re: A Journey to God: Chennai to Tirupati & Sriharikota

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Nice little travelogue. Makes me feel like getting on a bike and going for a long ride immediately! Some of the roads are very inviting.

On a more serious note, please get yourself a new helmet with a visor.
Yep, built a custom visor for that helmet and fit it within the next day. The helmets long lost now though, it was a good one!
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