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Old 23rd May 2020, 12:56   #1
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Default Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH

This lockdown, while restricting movement, has allowed me to revisit old memories and find happiness in them. This motorcycle ride dates back to July 2018.


How long does it take to get back that itch to ride long distances? Not much I believe. It had been 6 long months since my last long-ish ride to Coorg. That’s a lot. Short one day rides had way back stopped satisfying the thirst to ride. Leaving home in the morning for a ride knowing you’ll be back at the same spot in just some hours is really disappointing. What the mind demanded was several days on the road, thousands of kilometres, with very less people accompanying. Demanded. And delivered.



The Planning-

It was the beginning of monsoon, early July, when I was planning to get out. I am a student of History and finding out about the stories of the past is my favourite thing. Hence, I zeroed down on Thanjavur for the ride. Thanjavur, in current Tamil Nadu, was the capital of a very powerful kingdom in Medieval India, ruled by The Chola Dynasty. Usually while teaching the Indian History, Southern history is given very less importance. So I desired to first hand witness their large structures and get to know about the lesser known past.

Now was the time to find out if anyone was interested to ride long distance with me, as well as have some interest in history. Most of the friends were tangled in their own routines. Gaurang however was ready. Hmm great, I thought, as he likes to travel and explore, roam around and do shit as well. He rides a Himalayan and resides in Mumbai while I have a Thunderbird and I live in Pune. Finalised the dates, chalked out the plan, finalised the places, all on the phone. We weren’t willing to waste any time and decided to leave just 3 days later.

There was a lot to do in those 3 days. First of all and the most important was to prepare the bikes. While my bike just needed a rear sprocket change, Gaurang’s Himalayan was to be serviced. On a side note, Tribocor Chain Lube is really really amazing! A 500 ml bottle lasted me for don’t know how many decades. I changed my sprocket for the first time at 35000 kms on the odo which according to my estimate would’ve lasted for more 4-5 thousand kms. But, it was making a bit of noise and I just didn’t want to take any chances. Not sure, but I’d like to believe that’s because of the chain lube, despite my riding style being pretty aggressive. Coming back to the story, bikes were ready, other things gathered and packed.

We planned to leave on 11th of July from Pune, which meant that Gaurang had to be in Pune a night before. Due to some personal work, heavy rain, he got a bit late. Wait. ‘A bit’ doesn’t fit here. He got 5 hours late and reached Pune at 1 am on 11th. We had planned to leave Pune at about 5 am. Guess that wasn’t happening now. Checked everything, packed final things and went to bed, to wake up to a 7-day short explorational quest.



Day 1-

5 am became 6.30, and eventually we left at 7.30 am. Yeah. The target for the day was Bengaluru, 850 kms from Pune, and us geniuses started at 7.30 in the morning. Nonetheless, it was good to be back on the road. Neither of us have proper saddle bags so we tied our backpacks on the bikes with the good old bungees. Waterproofed them using plastic bags. Waterproofed ourselves with the rain pants and liner to the riding jacket.


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Fuel stop near Kolhapur


Route for the day was simple. Hop on to the NH4 and stay on it. What a long, straight, well maintained (for the most part) and extremely boring highway. You can literally read a book on the bike while just keeping one hand on the throttle. And if you’re on a Thunderbird, you can read a book while seating in a recliner. I discovered several extremely comfortable positions. Lean onto the luggage on the rear seat, legs on the crash guard, right hand on the throttle, while using the large seat to move around. What about the left hand? That’s to hold the book. I rode like this continuously for about half an hour or so several times on that highway. People in the passing by vehicles turn their heads around, smile and sometimes wave.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-nh4-bikes.jpg
Good weather, good mood


We were doing 80-90 constant. Easy for both the bikes. I know 80-90 is a bit slow to cover 850 kms in a day but who cares. If you constantly worry a lot even on the bike then what’s even the point. We were enjoying and that’s the only thing that mattered. We faced rain only near Kolhapur, Nipani and Hubbali. After that it was all dry.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-bikes-rain.jpeg
Somewhere near Hubbali


It was 9 in the night and we stopped in Chitradurga to have dinner. Bengaluru was about 4 hours away. We physically, mentally could do it, but the problem was our lights. Thunderbird's headlight is as useless as bird poop. We both were only surviving on the Himalayan’s headlight. Neither of us had auxiliary lights, which turned out to be a mistake in the later part of the trip as well. So we decided to stay in Chitradurga for the night and proceed to Bengaluru early in the morning. Got a highway side hotel for Rs 700, pretty good room. Planned to sleep early at 10 pm so we could compensate for last night’s incomplete sleep quota. Ambitious plan. Sleep had us not before 12!


Day 2-

I’m not a morning person, not at all. But when it’s about travelling somewhere, I get up without the alarm snoozing. We got up at sunrise, not before that because of the expected failure of our scheduled and highly ambitious plan to sleep by 10 pm the night before. Got ready, bags tied on the bikes, geared up and left. Didn’t check the watch, didn’t feel the need.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-bikes-toll-naka.jpeg


NH4 in Maharashtra is happening. Big potholes, uneven patches, cows on the road, I-own-this-road attitude of almost every car driver. NH4 in Karnataka? Extremely good road condition, rare trucks and buses, once in an eternity cars. Perfect to go fast on fast bikes. So not for REs. Petrol pumps and restaurants aren’t as frequent in Karnataka as in MH. Found a small hotel after about half an hour of search to have breakfast.


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Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-coffee-bike-gk.jpeg


As my father used to work in Bengaluru, we had arrangements made for our stay for Day 1. We had planned to ride to Thanjavur on Day 2. Even though the plan changed, we were going to meet him, have lunch and then proceed to Thanjavur on the same day. We had to go to Hoskote which is about 20 kms away from Bengaluru. Didn’t have to face the infamous traffic of Bengaluru. Pheww!


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-self.jpeg
Can't remember if I was posing or it was a candid


Met my father, had lunch, had a quick half an hour powernap and left for Thanjavur at about 3 pm. We were out of the routine after a long time. If anyone thought we were going to follow a schedule and worry and hurry up, that’s clearly not going to happen.


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Coffee breaks


Entered Tamil Nadu. My first time in the state. Riding in TN is an entirely different experience. There’s vehicles on the highway! Lots of! And back to back hotels packed with people. Reached Salem just after sunset.


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Was able to capture this after many, many attempts


It was decided not to sleep anywhere but in a hotel in Thanjavur directly, no matter how late, how slow. Those lots of vehicles on the highway disappeared in the night and it got lonely again. 2 guys on 2 bikes worth three and half lakhs, carrying a DSLR, some cash, mobile phones, riding alone in the dark at 11 in the night in an unknown region with unknown language. Exciting!

With the help of our good generous friend Google, we found out the pathway to sleep. There’s no stopping now, there’s no sleep until we sustain this pathway with all the energy and enthusiasm and fight the evil tiredness to its end. The darkness is witnessing, the silence is watching us, sceptically judging, if we can make it to the end and achieve the optimum goal- sleep.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-tn-fried-rice.jpg
Dinner after Salem


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Stopped for chai and to clean our visors and headlights


We made it through and the victorious moment was the knock on the hotel’s glass door. Well, knocks, plural. And a lot of shouting. Because till we reached the hotel, the staff was already having dreams of sleeping peacefully somewhere on an island without someone waking them up in the middle of the night, which we shattered.

We had booked a hotel online while having dinner somewhere ahead of Salem. We reached that hotel in Thanjavur at 2 in the night. 2 am. We could see the guy sleeping through the main glass door of the hotel. The guy was having his best time. 15 minutes went into waking him up. Somehow in half sleep he registered our names and everything, gave us a key and told to get out of his face. Well, not literally but I’d do it if I was in his place.

5 plastic wrapped bags, bunch of entangled bungees and tired dirty faces were carried onto the second floor on a stairway which was longer than the freaking NH4. Slept immediately. The darkness and the silence were clapping in the background, proudly.



Day 3-

Day 3 was allotted for Thanjavur. Rest day for the bikes. Woke up and had a good look at the room. There was only one window, which opened in the hallway. Rs 800 for this small suffocating room wasn’t really worth so we decided to look for a better hotel in the evening.


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A2B Breakfast

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Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-thanjavur-dosa.jpg

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-thanjavur-badam-milk.jpg


First place we had in mind to visit in Thanjavur was the Brihadeeshwara Temple, popularly known as the Big Temple in the city. Built in 1010 CE, the 1008 years old temple doesn’t even have one single loose rock, still rock solid.


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Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-thanjavur-temple-5.jpg


Roamed around its premises in awe, clicked pictures and got burnt in the scorching heat. There was not a single cloud in the sky, let alone rain. The Sun was the ultimate king of the sky that day. Got out after some time in search of something to cool our bodies down. Thanjavur is a big city, but it took us 20 minutes to find a fruit juice stall. In total 4 glasses of watermelon juice and 4 different flavours of ice cream candies were destroyed.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-thanjavur-juice.jpg
Sukoon


Refreshing! It was then time to visit Thanjavur Palace. But sadly, the Palace closes at 5.30 hence we got just 1 hour or so inside.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-thanjavur-temple-6.jpg

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-thanjavur-palace.jpg


Left the palace, roamed around in the market for a while and searched for a good hotel online while having authentic southern food. Found a decent one, with decent reviews, Hotel Victoriyah. Went there to check first as it was just 5 minutes away. It looked nice, but most importantly it had a compound wall and a gate around it. Safe parking for the bikes! You get cheap deals online so booked the hotel online while standing in front of it. Good room, great compared to the last one and at the same price. Got the luggage shifted and planned the next day.

Last edited by TravelMonk : 23rd May 2020 at 16:45.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 13:37   #2
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Default Re: Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through MH-KA-TN-PY

Day 4-

This day was meant to explore Gangaikondacholapuram. Thatís the name of a small village. A single one. Thanjavur was the first capital of the Cholas. They later shifted the capital to Gangaikondacholapuram. The Brihadeeshwara Temple in Thanjavur was the icon and prestige of the capital. Hence they decided to build a replica of the big temple in Gangaikondacholapuram. The temple is as big as the one in Thanjavur.

But as the Thanjavur Palace closed very early last day, we missed on some stuff. Decided to cover it in the morning and then leave for the large named temple village. Guess what? The Palace opens at 10.30 am. Closes at 5.30 pm. We were confused if we were visiting a bank or a freaking tourist destination. The remaining part took about 2 hours to cover.

Left for Gangaikonda...letís just call it G from now on. So we left for G at about 2. And what a beautiful road it was! A small curvy village road covered with trees and with farms on both the sides. The Sun was doing us a favour by slowly going down. Cool breezes making it an absolute delight to ride. Iíd choose that road any day over the 4/6 laned concrete straight highways.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-chai.jpeg


After gliding on the curves for some distance, we reached Darasuram. Darasuram was another Chola Temple site but lesser known. Most times in Tamil Nadu, people sparked conversations with us looking at our MH registered bikes, luggage and all the gear. They usually got surprised after learning that we rode all this distance on the motorcycles. During one of these conversations, a kind lady suggested us to visit Darasuram on the way to G. So there we were.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-tng-temple.jpg
Darasuram


Left our luggage laden bikes in the parking on the trust of the watchman and went inside. We werenít disappointed! A big old temple with jaw dropping architecture and sculptures and carvings. Spent some time there and left for our prime target, The G.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-tng-temple-1.jpg

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-dhol-wala.jpg
The gentleman with dhol-like instrument was a treat to listen to


it was almost 5 when we left Darasuram. It was kind of a challenge to reach G before sunset. Somehow we managed that. Sun setting in the background, planted palm trees around dancing with the wind and there stands the huge temple in the middle. Much older than it looks and much bigger than it feels. A symbol of power and authority. A much celebrated icon of its time.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-g-temple.jpg
Gangaikondacholapuram


Soon the darkness took over. We just lay in the lawn in the temple premises, looking at the big dome of the temple, sensing its prominence in its times, calm.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-g-temple-1.jpg
Big, isn't it?


But we had to get up and leave. Where were we going? Pondicherry!
G may have been the capital of a great Kingdom in the past but currently itís just a small village. Thereíre no facilities to stay for the tourists. It was already dark and much distance had to be covered on unknown village roads. The road was kind of bad, first bad road we found in TN.

Stopped at a random road side hotel for dinner and had the most amazing Ghee Roast Dosa there. Delicious! While enjoying the tasty food, started searching online for a hotel in Pondicherry. Finished the giant Dosa but still couldnít find a decent hotel in our budget as it was weekend. After about an hour of searching different sites, found one hotel in Auroville, booked and left immediately.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-ghee-roast-dosa.jpg
The delicious Ghee Roast Dosa


The road this time wasnít really great and the high beams from upcoming vehicles made it difficult. If we compare, even the small village roads were in the best condition in TN. MH and KA need to work on that. Also, TN drivers did actually switch to low beam when we were passing them, most of them did. Kannada people, there are concepts like low beam and high beam. Learn them. Learn how to switch to low beam. Please.

Back to the night, Google lady helped us reach Auroville. Now finding the hotel we booked was a task. It was 12 am in the clock, thereís no one awake in the whole southern hemisphere. Google didnít help this time. Just when we were trying to figure out the location on the map, a fellow villager passed by on his moped. He turned back and asked if there was a problem. We donít know Tamil, he doesnít know Hindi or English. What he does know is some of the words in English language. So using just the keywords we were able to convey him our hunt for the hotel.

Meanwhile we found the hotel managerís number on Google. The fellow villager talked with the manager in Tamil on the phone and got the exact location. He came with us to the hotel and help us wake up the hotel owner. The manager wasnít present at the hotel and the owner had no idea about our situation. Yeah, waking up dreaming guys in the middle of the night had become our new hobby!

The fellow villager waited till the owner woke up and opened the gate for us. Good man. He left immediately. Half sleepy guy, registering us in and handing over the keys, repeated. Got comfortable and went off.



Day 5-

A relax day today. Didnít realise it in the night but our hotel was just 100 meters away from the Auroville Visitors Parking. Lazily got ready and made a plan for the day. Neither of us had ever visited Pondicherry or Auroville before. Pretty much excited we were. Entered the Visitors Centre of Auroville and damn we already were in love with the place. Had the most amazing coffee in the cafeteria, roamed around and got educated about the place through the exhibition-type displays. I wonít go into details about it, internet has much information already.


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A "waterfall" made out of used CDs


Went to see Mantri mandir, clicked some photos. It was 42 degrees and 12 in the clock and we were about 4 kms away from the seashore. Even though we werenít sweating as much thanks to all the tree plantation.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-matri-mandir.jpg
Matrimandir


Just as when we were cooling ourselves down with some delicious beverages, we spotted a board saying Accommodation help desk. Went in to see if we find a budget hotel inside the premises of Auroville. And we did! Got the name and address of Discovery Guest House and immediately went to check.

A beautiful small road covered with trees on both sides took us to the Guest House. Loved it! For 800 bucks we got a decent sized room surrounded with trees on all sides. A dirt road connected the guest house to the outside world. We had to go back to our old hotel room to check out and bring our luggage to the new room. Once that was done, it was time to head to Pondicherry.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-discovery-guest-house.jpg
Serene Discovery Guest House


First place we had in mind was the Aurobindo Ashram, which is quite famous. It was 6 in the clock when we got out of the ashram after spending some time there. Peaceful, from outside, full of conflict from within. The faces of the people meditating in the ashram reflected the same emotions. The area where it was located seemed like an old French residence colony. Beautiful houses, some frames for the amateur photographers inside us.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-pondy-street.jpg

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-pondy-street-1.jpg

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-pondy-street-bike.jpg


It was almost dark and we wanted to head to the Promenade beach before that. Sunrise and sunset are the most beautiful times to be present on a beach. But that wasnít the case on Promenade beach. It was so crowded that I couldnít even hear the soothing sounds of the sea waves crashing explosively on the rocks of the shore. People everywhere!


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-pondy-waves.jpg


Walked down the adjoining closed road in the crowd for some distance and decided to have some food in Pondicherry and head back to our jungle hotel in Auroville.


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An exciting day came to an end and so did our little tour. We still had to go back home but now just the return journey part was left, which honestly, is not so exciting. On the way back to Bengaluru the next day, we were to make a stop in Mahabalipuram to make the return journey better. Silver lining!

Last edited by TravelMonk : 23rd May 2020 at 15:56.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 16:39   #3
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Default Re: Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH

Day 6-

Birds chirping in the woods woke us up. We were excited to ride alongside of the sea. And the East Coast Road was totally worth it. Mahabalipuram isn’t much far from Auroville, but whatever short distance we rode on ECR was very enjoyable.


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Early in the morning, why not?

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Had typical south Indian Idli Sambhar breakfast on the way. Till we reached Mahabalipuram, the Sun was over the head.


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Breakfast on the way

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-ecr-breakfast-2.jpg


Firstly, we headed to the Shore Temple. Couldn’t park and leave the bikes in the parking lot unattended because of all the luggage. So in half English, half hindi and hand movements convinced the parking attendant to park the bikes beside his fee collecting table. Also, a shop there charges Rs 10 to keep your luggage or belongings in the shop while you visit the temple. Kept all our riding gear and backpack in the shop and went to the temple with only the camera with us.


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Shore Temple


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-sea-shore-temple-1.jpg


The Shore Temple is, well, on the shore. Neatly maintained area and very few people made it pleasant to roam around while the overhead burning Sun kept trying harder to make us give up and find shelter in a shade. We weren’t gonna let the heat stop us though. Sat on an old separated rock for about 30 minutes to shoot a nice timelapse video.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-sea-shore-temple-2.jpg


As soon as we were back near the parking, gulped down 2 glasses each of the famous Nannari juice. Mahabalipuram has a lot to offer, but since we had to reach Bengaluru on the same day, had to be selective with the places to see. Took the Himalayan and headed to Pancha Rathas, the second most famous place.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-arjun-rath.jpg


You have to hire a guide to help you understand about the place and the history as there is no information displayed anywhere. We came to know about that a bit later but it was now too late for that.


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Had light food in a local south Indian restaurant, thanked the parking attendant and left for Bengaluru. Some distance ahead of Kanchipuram, joined the amazing Bengaluru Chennai highway. We weren’t going into Bengaluru city, just as before, we were finding a route to Hoskote.


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Little rest for the bikes and ourselves


Left the amazing buttery smooth highway only to be on an extremely hideous district road with potholes of the size to gulp down a whole truck. You try missing one and you end up in another. I was riding behind a trailer (with no tail lights), all oncoming vehicles with high beam blinding us, and I bumped into a massive moon-like crater on the road. Literally went down 15 feet and came back up 16. An alloy wheel would’ve been cracked into two pieces and that is not an exaggeration. The impact was that huge.

I somehow managed to gain control back and did not crash, and kept riding, furiously. Later when I checked, found out that one of the fork seals was busted, and it took 4 hours to get the rear wheel trued. After that I was pissed off all the way till Hoskote. Reached at around 12 in the night. Had food and slept with an ambitious plan to wake up at 6 in the morning and ride 800 kms to Pune.




Day 7-

The ambitious plan of waking up at 6 obviously failed. We did however wake up not much after 7. Had breakfast and left when the clock was showing 8.30. We had to go through Bengaluru now, not all the way inside the city but enough to taste the infamous Bengaluru traffic. And we sure did.

Bengaluru lived up to its reputation. It took us 2 hours to get out of the city and join the Tumkur highway. Sigh. Back on our favourite highway. Got into the read-a-book position, played some music and covered don’t know how much distance. Meanwhile Gaurang got sleepy due to inadequate sleep and straight smooth road. Stopped near some toll naka in a small ‘tapri’. The powernap we took there was strong enough to last for an hour.


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It was around 1 now and we still had humongous distance to cover. Meh. The weather was pleasant. Windy, not too hot, perfect. A bunch of coconut trees in the background were calling for a nice photograph with the bikes. I obliged.


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Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-coconut-return.jpg


It started drizzling after some time. The perfect weather became, well what’s above perfect. I was dancing on the moving bike as much as I could while singing loudly, and thankfully my only audience was myself. What else you need! That is what I was out there for. That exact moment, I was truly happy. Living the moment. No past no future, just the present. Sounds clichť, but true.


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During this, didn’t realise that Gaurang wasn’t in my rear view mirror. And when I did, stopped on the side immediately because we always rode not far from each other and always signalled other before stopping. Took out my phone to call him and saw 3 missed calls from him. Yep, Himalayan broke down I thought. It was a bit frightening because there are many stories of major breakdowns of the Himalayan and the sun was about to set in about half an hour and we were in the middle of nowhere.

Called him back and sighed as it was just a puncture. He was about 4 km behind. We had a kuchh-hua-to-dekh-lenge-puncture kit. So had to find a proper puncture shop. He had stopped over a flyover. Rear tyre flat.

I went in search of a puncture shop. Found one under the bridge. Now it was a task to get that damn 200+ kgs motorcycle off the bridge and to the puncture wala. With the rear tyre completely flat and luggage on the rear seat, it became extremely difficult and tiring. Turn by turn pushed the bike for about 800 mtrs.

6:30 in the clock, raining, Hubli about 60 kms away and a guy in the adjoining dhaba says the puncture wala went home already. Asked for another puncture shop, went there, that guy said that he does only truck punctures and won’t even touch an RE. I’ve faced this before. Most puncture walas refuse to touch Thunderbird or Himalayan’s rear wheel. Even in Pune.

So went on searching for another shop, found one but already shut. Got to know there’s a small village 5 kms off the highway. Gaurang stayed with the Himalayan parked at the first shop. I went alone 5 kms off the highway in some unknown Kannada region in the dark while raining to search a damn puncture wala who was ready to handle an RE. With the mix of Hindi English and hand gestures, found a shop, but the owner was nowhere to be seen.

There was a small hotel nearby where many people were taking shelter from rain. All those eyeballs were on me. Asked loudly to the supposed owner of the hotel if he knew where the puncture wala was. Our guy was enjoying his biscuit with tea inside. The guy could only speak Kannad. So couple of Hindi-English understanding folks came to the rescue. I conveyed my need to the guy through the mediators and he too strongly refused to touch an RE. With no help, went back to the bridge where the first shop was, where Gaurang was waiting.

We spent about an hour doing this. It was pitch dark now. Now comes the genius who fixed it for us. Remember the first guy in the adjoining dhaba who said the puncture wala went home? Guess what, he himself was the owner of that shop but lied because he had an injury to his right hand. He saw our struggle for an hour and decided to help our poor souls. He was no expert, could tell that from his actions. But he managed to get the wheel out.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-himalayan-puncture.jpg


The tube inside was cut like someone would do with a cutter. There was no hole. The tube was no longer round. It got a starting and ending point. A circle became a line. We could sew both the ends of it, put a valve, fill air and some stones inside and use it for fights like a thick stick. Nice.

So the new task was to find a tube with the same specifications. Visited two shops nearby as told by the puncture wala but they didn’t have the same size. Each time I would call Gaurang and we both would put the locals on line and they would have a Kannad conversation about the tube, puncture, bike, tube availability, upcoming elections, monsoon, inflation and only they know what.

All of them agreed that the tube we were looking for can only be found in one store, which was in that same village I came back from. I went again, searching for Basaweshwara Auto. Turned out the village wasn’t actually a village. That small town faced traffic jams. Huhh. After some search I found the store which happened to be closed. Wow.

There was another spare parts store a bit away. Went to try it out and I found it! I found the right sized tube. Of course our puncture wala and the shop owner did some discussion on the phone first. Meanwhile I chitchatted with some bystanders. They were really curious that why would someone be mad enough to ride so far in this heavy rain. I enlightened them on the sunny weather in Tamil Nadu. The usual questions followed, mileage, top speed of the bik..no..bullet.

After the fun conversation, went back to our guy. And while he fixed the wheel back, we brainstormed of what to do now. It was 8.30 in the night and raining. We had our super bright, capable of blinding the sun headlights, which was the main concern.

Did some math with Hubli, Belgaum, Kolhapur and Pune as our destinations. We had lost about 2.30 riding hours in the whole puncture scenario. After much discussion, decided to stay in Hubli and not take much risk. Had dinner in a Rajasthani restaurant on the way and after much trouble of finding the road in front in the dim headlights, reached Hubli at around 10. We had already booked a hotel online while having food. Went up to the room and crashed. With no promise to wake up early!




Day 8-

The last day. It ends. Today. Nothing interesting happening. Only highlight was the breakfast, perfect roadside steaming Idli Sambhar and amazing coffee.


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-belgaon-breakfast-return.jpg
One last taste of the Idlis and coffee


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-belgaon-return-bikes.jpg

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-king-leading.jpg
The King is leading and we must follow


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-return-river.jpg

Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-return-river-water.jpg
We call it the 'chai river'


Southern Bliss | A motorcycle ride through TN-KA-PY-MH-reliable-re.jpg
The reliable Royal Enfield



A rather relaxed day. Reached Pune at around 5 in the evening and there ended the week long, or week short expedition.
Though the thirst remains, partially satisfied.

Last edited by TravelMonk : 23rd May 2020 at 16:52.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 17:46   #4
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd May 2020, 20:26   #5
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Very nice road trip. Amazing pictures.

Pune to Thanjavur in a single day is no easy task. I can relate with your journey because Bengaluru is where I work, Thanjavur is my second home, Pondicherry is my Father's native, Mahabalipuram is my cousin's place, Chennai is my first home. Your thread makes me nostalgic. Thanks for sharing.

PS: July isn't a great season, winter would better.

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Old 24th May 2020, 12:41   #6
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Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Very nice road trip. Amazing pictures.

Pune to Thanjavur in a single day is no easy task. I can relate with your journey because Bengaluru is where I work, Thanjavur is my second home, Pondicherry is my Father's native, Mahabalipuram is my cousin's place, Chennai is my first home. Your thread makes me nostalgic. Thanks for sharing.

PS: July isn't a great season, winter would better.
Thank you!
Wow that's a nice coincidence!
Yes we were aware that July wasn't the best time to go, but that was the only time we could make it.
And you gotta do what you gotta do right!?
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Old 24th May 2020, 20:05   #7
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Yes we were aware that July wasn't the best time to go
July isn't that bad either for Thanjavur because if monsoon was normal, there would be water in Cauvery. I guess you might have missed sweet part of that leg in the dark. The 70km stretch between Namakkal and Trichy takes a different shade when Cauvery fills those complicated maze of canals. The winding road with water flowing on both sides is to be experienced in a motorcycle, preferably in early morning hours when sunlight shimmers through waterways and peacocks swarm paddy fields.
In that sense, an ideal stop over for you would have been Namakkal.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 24th May 2020 at 20:12.
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Old 25th May 2020, 08:01   #8
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Awesome read!

Some notes from my side:
  1. Yes medieval India is not explained well to common public save those folks preparing for civil services! Its worth reading NCERT history texts! (I still have them and go through them).
  2. You barely had a glimpse of the Chola era. Tanjore is just the showcase. There are infinite hidden gems around that area. You need at least 5-10 visits to do justice to the Tier-1 and Tier-2 temples (If I can chose to classify them that way). That whole region is a treasure trove.
  3. Tanjore to Mahabs you moved from Cholas to Pallavas! (You can see the difference in architecture styles). By the way Chola architecture can be seen even around Hoskote/Kolar belt! Such was their reach.
  4. What route did you take from Mahabs to Hoskote? You should have done: Mahabs-Kanchi-Arcot-Chitoor-Hoskote. (Its by and large a great road). Chitoor-Hoskote is the Old Madras Road and now is a 4-lane!
  5. When starting from Hoskote, you can totally avoid Bangalore and get on to Bombay highway via the NH648 (Old NH207). You can see more details about the same on the Bangalore Bypass thread (On Bypassing Bangalore)
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Old 25th May 2020, 08:41   #9
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Moving thread to the motorcycle section so that our bike fans don't miss this! Thanks for sharing. Will be shortly going to our homepage .
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Old 25th May 2020, 11:52   #10
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Nice one to read. I have lived at Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Tanjore. My childhood was in visiting the Big Temple almost each week. We used to live so close to the temple. Ofcourse, that was like 4 decades back.

For an additional few km's you both could have made it to Kumbakonam. There are 1000+ temples around this place.

The Cauvery would have been a sight to watch in the monsoons, but it seems you guys rode past those beautiful roads way past sunset and missed it.

And if you don't mind, the language of Karnataka is 'Kannada' and not 'Kannad' as you refer to while narrating the puncture episode.

Loved reading this travelogue and thanks.
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