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Old 2nd March 2015, 16:58   #1
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Default A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills

Every drive has an origin story. How it came to be? Or rather, why it came to be?

Mine had neither. It just was – like the universe is. We have all had our share of existential angst; why is the universe present, as opposed to absolute blankness? Why is there life as opposed to non-life? Is life absolutely necessary for the universe to function? Is there a function to this universe we inhabit? What does it want from us?

Some of us let our thoughts animate in our heads until a cloud of meaning stares back at us from the void of unknowable.
Some of us just set off on long drives.

I used to be the former type, now I am the latter. So that is how my drive began, for no reason or purpose. It was not the escape from everyday life, not the thrill of knowing a new place, not the longing for a clean tongue of tarmac, it was just something that happens without a prior notion. There is no causality here, just like the universe…

We took the ORR at about 4 in the evening. It was partly because we could not get the leaves and partly because we knew the Hyderabad-Bangalore road like the back of our palms. A straight road that stretches out like it is going in and out of framed paintings – some scenic stretches, much reward for mental health, and throw in a dose of needed interruptions in the form of toll booths.

The road from Hyderabad to Ananthpur is fine. It has its moments to keep you awake. But beyond that it is drowsy. It just feels like the road is conspiring against you, the landscape following you like the moon in the sky, always constant and unchanging. This road is devoid of traffic, a barren world desperately wanting to amuse you with its charms but falling short nonetheless. It always puts me to sleep. Must have a cup of tea before venturing!

Bangalore to Coimbatore is very scenic with lush green verdure, palm trees lining the farms, and the road snaking around burly mountains. It is always a respite to leave the city of Bangalore behind. Every single time I drive into Bangalore I have 2 alternate routes in hand so I won’t get stuck in traffic. But the city sees through all of my attempts; Bangalore effortlessly wraps you in a rapture of traffic that never lets go. I always waste 2+ hours negotiating the many obese flyovers of this city.

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150226_017.jpg

This was A2B restaurant near Coimbatore. Lovely place with plenty of sweets and hot steaming tea on the menu.

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150226_018.jpg

Ample parking space. yes, it appears to be funny to post a pic of the parking lot, but I am inclined to think it is parking space that determines the worthiness of a restaurant on highways. Usually the ones with clean washrooms and parking area attract cars. Anyone who has driven on highways will agree with me when I say, you would rather make a stop where you find more cars than where you don't see any.

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150226_019.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150226_020.jpg

From Coimbatore to Kochi was terrible. Trucks whining and their loads wobbling on their backs. So many trucks and cars and buses on this road – it was just impenetrable. At one point we were just driving in a single file for close to an hour, trying to overtake and unable to do it, constantly under pressure to justify your slow pacing to the obnoxious honking guy behind you. I am sure, looking from the top, all the vehicles would have looked like a mutated alien centipede from outer space, its segmented body shifting and readjusting, sliding in and out, head to toe…

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150226_044.jpg

This was just before Kochi. Again, we stopped here because we spotted a Duster and an Ecosport parked in the entrance. The tea was pathetic because it tasted more like hot water. But it was alright because all we needed was a biobreak

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150226_052.jpg


Kochi to Alleppey was again very slow. No divider and it is a 2-laned highway so naturally it calls for a lot of overtaking and lot of resolve to hold back when everyone else is doing it wrong, like overtaking even in the bends and blind turns…

All in all, it took about 5 hours from Coimbatore to Alleppey.

The stay at Ashtamudi Homestay was divine. I could not have asked for more. It was a quiet home with very helpful owners. In fact when we called them to check the address after reaching the town, she sent a boy to the junction who took us through the network of busy roads to arrive at their humble place. The road was actually quite narrow and only one car could fit through. But that was fine because I had all the help I needed in parking.

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_002.jpg

My car parked inside, making everything look very cramped indeed.
the next morning when I was reversing I found it very difficult so I asked if they could find some place else for my parking. The house lady understood. She made alternative arrangements - found parking place for us in a compound nearby.

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_003.jpg


The shikara ride in Alleppey was very pleasant. When we were heading into the backwaters it was about 8 in the morning and all the mammoth house boats were returning from an overnight drive. A bee line of boats in the serene highway of water painted green from stirring leaves atop – all the boats sailing very slow and on them aboard, were groggy passengers- helplessly yawning and stretching, snacking and sipping hot tea…

The narrow channels in the village were simply breathtaking. Trees on both banks shading the pathway, the water lapping just a little bit, the boat traversing soundlessly as if it fell out of someone’s dream, a creature of the woods. It was all so tranquil…

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_012.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_016.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_017.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_018.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_021.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_022.jpg

Once in the open lake the beauty becomes less evident and less purposeful. Of course there are the house boats that stay afloat looking like stranded puzzles of beauty that you can’t decipher. It just feels overwhelming. Beauty evokes interest but at the same time it evokes inquiry. Why is everything so beautiful?

We were then taken to a restaurant where the guy offered pan fried fish. It was delicious and I mean it. I think it was called “Karimen”


A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_098.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_023.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_114.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_115.jpg


We went to the beach later. This is where we lunched and it was not great. Everyone wanted something spicy and everything that we got was bland. Well, I was fine with anything but I am sure food can be bettered.


A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_120.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_121.jpg

Post lunch, on our way to Kumarakom, we stopped near the bird sanctuary. This happened to be on an island that you had to reach on a speedboat. This was our second ride into the lake. The island had a cobbled pathway for its diameter so you can walk from one end of it to the other.

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_122.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_123.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_126.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_129.jpg


I actually found a cat here near the entrance. It was one of those angry ones that dissuade human contact. I took some pics but somehow misplaced them. Anyway, my wife constructed a nice narrative for the cat's angry attitude - Maybe its owner left it there on the island to fetch food and shelter by itself. Abandoned like that, with no prelude and explanation, the cat harbored great resentment in its heart, feeding its anger and exasperation as days went by, hoping for its owner to return it to its proper home. And so the days slipped by and the cat has associated its owner's face to every living human being, discouraging them from pacifying it.

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_135.jpg


These pictures are from Kumarakom:

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_145.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_146.jpg

In Kumarakom, we booked a boat for 2 hours and were taken into the open lake where we all enjoyed the sunset. We were perhaps the last ones for the day because the guy gave us the wheel and sat down beside us, guiding us as we drove the house boat all by ourselves.


A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_147.jpg

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150227_152.jpg


Next morning we set off back to Hyderabad. Started early at 4 in the morning so we could beat the traffic around Kochi. The aim was to reach Coimbatore as soon as possible, and then drive leisurely from thereon. This was a success.

On the return leg, we bypassed Bangalore and drove to Horsley hills instead.

The road we took : Krishnagiri – Kuppam – Madanapalle – Horsley Hills.

The road was a regular 2 laned highway and sparsely populated. So it was a good drive, less stressful and much relaxing. The hillstation itself is small and very quiet. I think not more than 50 people live on the hill station at any given point in time. It rained the night we reached there and it was very cold throughout our stay. The morning was misty and rapturous. Birdcalls and smell of crushed eucalyptus all over the place.

Horsley Hills in the morning. Misty mountain hop

A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills-wp_20150301_057.jpg

Last edited by SyncNest : 2nd March 2015 at 17:04. Reason: comma misplaced
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Old 2nd March 2015, 17:17   #2
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Default re: A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills

Hello BHPian

I was actually planning for Kochi / alleppey trip last summer. Since my uncle was not well at that time we cancelled the trip. How about the safety in boat house for couples and how much for the individual boat for the whole night. Thanks in advance
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Old 3rd March 2015, 07:16   #3
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Default re: A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills

Thanks for the writeup.

I quite like the reference you made comparing our overtaking manoeuvres to centipedes. So true!
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Old 3rd March 2015, 11:15   #4
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Default re: A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills

Very nice write-up with some good photos!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SyncNest View Post
Every drive has an origin story. How it came to be? Or rather, why it came to be?

Mine had neither. It just was – like the universe is. We have all had our share of existential angst; why is the universe present, as opposed to absolute blankness? Why is there life as opposed to non-life? Is life absolutely necessary for the universe to function? Is there a function to this universe we inhabit? What does it want from us?

Some of us let our thoughts animate in our heads until a cloud of meaning stares back at us from the void of unknowable.
Some of us just set off on long drives.

I used to be the former type, now I am the latter. So that is how my drive began, for no reason or purpose. It was not the escape from everyday life, not the thrill of knowing a new place, not the longing for a clean tongue of tarmac, it was just something that happens without a prior notion. There is no causality here, just like the universe…
This, very well sums up my thoughts too over the years.

Quote:
Ample parking space. yes, it appears to be funny to post a pic of the parking lot, but I am inclined to think it is parking space that determines the worthiness of a restaurant on highways. Usually the ones with clean washrooms and parking area attract cars. Anyone who has driven on highways will agree with me when I say, you would rather make a stop where you find more cars than where you don't see any.
I travel frequently and what I 've come to realize is that most of these restaurants are there to make some quick bucks - overpriced, tasteless and substandard food times.

What I do nowadays is - I try to find a next big town or city to coincide with lunch or dinner and take a small detour. Hotels that serve localities are generally good and prices nominal too. I am having very good experience so far.
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Old 3rd March 2015, 16:36   #5
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Default Re: A well planned 2500 KMs: Hyderabad – Alleppey – Kumarakom – Horsley Hills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poloprasad View Post
Hello BHPian

I was actually planning for Kochi / alleppey trip last summer. Since my uncle was not well at that time we cancelled the trip. How about the safety in boat house for couples and how much for the individual boat for the whole night. Thanks in advance

Hi,

The homestay we stayed in had an overnight houseboat package. It was for Rs 7500/- per night. Price included accommodation plus food for 4 people, starting 2 in the afternoon to 9 in the morning next day. They are all very safe. At any given point in time, you can see a dozen houseboats around you. All of them try to maintain some distance between each other so it would be quiet
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Old 3rd March 2015, 23:08   #6
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Default Re: A well-planned 2500 kms: Hyderabad –> Alleppey –> Kumarakom –> Horsley Hills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poloprasad View Post
Hello BHPian

I was actually planning for Kochi / alleppey trip last summer. Since my uncle was not well at that time we cancelled the trip. How about the safety in boat house for couples and how much for the individual boat for the whole night. Thanks in advance
The house boats are pretty safe as most of the people in that area are involved in that business. They dock mostly in R Block at night, though it might seem a bit deserted its perfectly safe.
Unless of course, you get drunk and jump into the water

Though my hometown is bang on the backwaters (Kollam) I actually toured a backwater/houseboat only recently and was pleasantly surprised with the awe and beauty. The best time to spend on the house boat is During the May-July Monsoon season. The rain makes the backwaters double beautiful.

I paid 10K for double bed a/c boat with 3 meals inclusive. a Single bed could cost you about 6K. Rates are slightly nego, try talking to the owners, hard bargaining doesn't work.

A monsoon time pic for reference :

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