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Old 27th March 2018, 07:32   #1
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Default Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

It was Sunday and I had to be some place other than home and what better place than one less known to the world, *DRUMROLL* Meghamalai!

Having heard about it from fellow enthusiasts who drove to the place the previous week I was already sold on the idea but for the sake of company I called up a few friends but none of them were up for the challenge as they had to go back to work on Monday and wasn’t sure that they’d be back before dark considering the distance and especially what the experienced members described about the route. Long story short, solo run it is!

Starting at around 6:30 AM from home I was taking it a bit easy, cruising at 60 kmph considering that Google Maps said under normal riding conditions I would take only around 6.5 hours to reach the place.

Since I was riding from ‘Kollam,Kerala’ I had opted for the ‘Bharanikavu’ route which is a less opted for route for interstate travels but at the right time of the day it can save you considerable time and that is what it did for me. Soon after I was past ‘Erumeli’ and that’s when the fun began, the roads were decent and the corners were just tempting and before I could bring my mind to comprehend the risks, my shoes, pegs and brake pedal(It’s a drum brake thing) was scraping all over the place.

The route was familiar as I remember riding through the place to attend the ‘2017 xBhp Inter-state G2G’ which was at ‘Thekkady,Kumily’. The curves were really dangerous considering that the state transport buses were having a blast overtaking without a care in the world and almost gently brushing pedestrians and slower traffic, but that was expected, what caught me by surprise was a private bus coming in the opposite direction that went seriously wide on a blind corner and nearly washed me out of existence, the only reason I was able to save myself was due to the CT100B’s handling and CEAT’s grip as such aggressive mid corner corrections usually don’t pan out well with my Bajaj Pulsar 220 as it runs like it’s on rails and mid corner correction aren’t well reciprocated.

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After the near miss I was back to taking it a bit slow by going back to 60 kmph, enjoying the beauty of everything around me, I even stopped to capture photos of disciplined cows that were resting on either side of the road on the pedestrian lanes which got me to wonder why they’re polar opposite to the bovines up north that would at times decide to take a quick nap in the middle of the road, I event went to the extent of making up a joke correlating animal behaviour to literacy rates of their respective states, frankly it felt good to think about petty things for once and find joy in humility.

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But my joy was short lived as I was cruising ahead I observed two calves walking side by side on the pedestrians lane and the one closer to the road got distracted by a yellow leaf that the wind carried and landed onto the traffic lane, the young-ling fascinated by it impulsively hopped on the road and grabbed it. I immediately signaled oncoming traffic and slowed down to a near halt, what happened next sent tremors of emotions throughout me as I resumed riding and slowly passed the pair the one that hopped on the road gave me a look of terror that I cannot find words to describe, it was as though the calf was in fear of punishment which moistened my helmet's cheek padding thinking of man’s cruelty towards animals.

After the experience I was riding slower at around 50 kmph until I got distracted by the board that said ‘Welcome to Valanjamkanam Waterfalls’, though there was nothing to see as the harsh summer had already dried it up. Being back to normal I decided to pick up speed and resumed at a comfortable pace until reaching ‘Vandiperiyar’ where the traffic got a bit tense but wasn’t anything worrying, soon after I was at ‘Thekkady,Kumily’ and without stopping moved further along to cross the border onto Tamil Nadu Roads.

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A few kilometres into Tamil Nadu and I’m greeted by a rich waterfalls, which I first assumed to be named “Pinkeytex, Kumily” but later realized that it was the name of a textile shop, if anyone from the area is aware of what this particular falls is named then do let me know, I couldn’t ask around as there was no one else in sight.

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Going forward the roads were decent but still narrow and that can’t be helped but being not so crowded I was able to squeeze my way and maintain decent speeds as all I had to do was go straight until I reached ‘Chinnamanur, Theni’, and just when the next deviation was about to come up my mobile phone which was also acting as my GPS threw up an overheating warning and crashed, leaving me to the mercy of my below par knowledge of Tamil but surprisingly the people of the area were well versed in English and guided me towards ‘Meghamalai’, which was around 25 km’s from the next right onto the ‘Old Palayam Road’.

Once off the highway the road towards ‘Meghamalai’ was almost like a runway with windmills on either sides, after a while you would reach a check-post where you would have to provide your details and duration of stay after which they would let you know that if intending to return the same day you would have to cross the check post before 5.30 PM.

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From there on the road conditions were mixed with a few hairpins and patches of roads that were under construction but nothing too scary, you can enjoy the view as you go up cause once you cover a considerable distance then the scary stuff shows up, thought in all honesty the terrain was a piece a cake, I say this in spite of my thigh muscles screaming at me while I type this sentence.

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Last edited by ashwinprakas : 27th March 2018 at 07:51.
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Old 27th March 2018, 07:35   #2
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Default Part 2: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km’s ride to Meghamalai and beyond!

As you've seen in the above post the greenery is lush and the water-bodies are just mesmerizing and if you do not keep an eye on the clock you would not realize how fast time flies by in the presence of such natural beauty.

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A landmark to look out for is a bridge on your right which you would have to take to proceed further, at this point I was not sure whether I had passed ‘Meghamalai’ or not but on asking around got to know that the trail ends at a place called ‘Maharaja Mettu’ and having nothing better to do I decided to keep moving till I reach the end.

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Further ahead you would come to a point where you would have to take a left towards ‘Venniar Estate’ which is the way you should take as ‘Cloud Mountain Bungalow’ is company property as advised by a plantation worker I met en-route.

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‘Venniar Tea Factory’ is open for visitors at a rate of Rs.100 per person, visiting hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and they’re closed on Mondays as seen in their hoarding.

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Soon after you would pass through many more lakes and pastures which are equally beautiful until you reach the end point, after which passage is restricted.

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Just before the end point opposite to a Bus Shelter there is a foot trail towards a view point recommended by the locals, but being a lazy bum I was reluctant to walk and hence decided to ride back home.

The return route was the exact same one I had taken to reach Meghamalai and since I had turned back at around 1:30 PM, which was more than an hour more than I’d expected, I was efficient with maintaining above average cruising speeds as I had a movie commitment to honour at 9:00 PM. Though on the way something did catch my eye and having heard wonderful reviews about the place I intend to make my next ride to ‘Satram’, which seems to be 13 km's off the 'Kollam-Theni' highway.

Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!-img_1267.jpg

The last 100 km’s to home was riddled with temple festivals and I was forced by locals to reroute from the main roads to by-roads that not only resulted in longer travel time but also disrupted my flow as my phone was still not up to provide GPS assistance and I had to make a lot of wrong turns before getting back on track, nonetheless I was at home by 7:00 PM with enough time to spare for the next engagement.

To wrap it up I would suggest those interested in visiting to effectively utilize time as the road conditions are challenging and time consuming nearing ‘Meghamalai’, the only reason I was able to return in 5.5 hours flat during peak traffic time was because I was practically flying over boulders at some sections for fun, which I doubt would be safely possible on a 4-wheeler.

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And do not entirely depend on Google Maps as there is a lot to explore after Meghamalai until the end of the trail which for some reason doesn’t show up, so roughly expect 50 km’s to cover post taking a right onto ‘Old Palayam Road’ towards ‘Meghamalai’.

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So having shared all that I have gathered, I bid you all adieu until next time.

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Cheers,
A.P.

Last edited by ashwinprakas : 27th March 2018 at 07:48.
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Old 28th March 2018, 15:34   #3
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

AP that was a fine ride and a pretty long one too. Seems like a very well hidden place with lots of scenery. How man kms did you clock. Is there any scope for accomodation at that place. Must admit your motivation to do it solo and return the same day.

Satram , what is this place famous for.
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Old 28th March 2018, 22:12   #4
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

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Originally Posted by majumon View Post
AP that was a fine ride and a pretty long one too. Seems like a very well hidden place with lots of scenery. How man kms did you clock. Is there any scope for accomodation at that place. Must admit your motivation to do it solo and return the same day.

Satram , what is this place famous for.
Clocked roughly 600 km's round trip, as per Google Maps the route should've been roughly 500 km's but most of the area explored doesn't show up in the maps, hence the miscalculation, which is why I'd suggest to start early and reach there early so you will get enough time to get used to the roads and be able to judge time required to explore the place and be back before curfew.

A route with similar(or better) scenery and better roads would be Kochi to Kollam via Suryanelli, don't ask me why, but while working at Kochi I once got fed up of the usual route and rode down to Kollam via Suryanelli and man! IT WAS MINDBLOWING!

I did notice a few vacation bungalows of sorts but they seemed unoccupied, not sure if its due to off-season or because they're privately owned, though while signing my name at the check-post log the guard on duty did ask if I intended to stay overnight, so I'm guessing overnight accommodation for travelers exists.

As for Satram, well its a remote place where there have been reported bear attacks, the reason I'm thrilled to visit the place is because a bunch of my friends rode there and had only wonderful things to say about the challenging trail conditions, they even made a video of it;



I hope to visit soon, fingers crossed!
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Old 29th March 2018, 15:52   #5
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

Wow Sathram looks stunning in the video, truly a bikers delight. Looks totally untouched. Update us after your visit, cheers.
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Old 30th March 2018, 11:13   #6
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

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Originally Posted by majumon View Post
AP that was a fine ride and a pretty long one too. Seems like a very well hidden place with lots of scenery. How man kms did you clock. Is there any scope for accomodation at that place. Must admit your motivation to do it solo and return the same day.

Satram , what is this place famous for.
you do have few decent and good acomodations in Meghamalai.

Satram is near Thekkady and is a series of grasslands so beautiful you can spend almost a day exploring all the trails, if you are in a 4x4 even better. You can hire jeep's to take you there. last time we went saw 2 scorpio's really having fun.
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Old 30th March 2018, 12:58   #7
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

Wouldn't satram be quite warm now? What a beautiful place. Must visit for sure.

What are the stay options in sathram?

Last edited by Red Liner : 30th March 2018 at 13:01.
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Old 31st March 2018, 20:42   #8
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

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Wouldn't satram be quite warm now? What a beautiful place. Must visit for sure.

What are the stay options in sathram?
I guess it would be warm, but considering that I'm from Kollam/Trivandrum I might find the place to be cooler than my place Fingers crossed.

There's a home-stay of sorts as I've heard from friends but have to go in person to find out more. Thekkady is a good option to stay as the rooms are on the cheaper side and Sathram is just a short ride away.
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Old 4th April 2018, 13:07   #9
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

Stunning pictures and a simply narrated complex plot of a road trip. The lush green mountains in Kerala have been my favourite like the Lush green North East Himalayas.
Kindly share the route as an image in google map or even better if you are collecting GPX data while on the go. People have a chance of wandering off on such trails so some reference data would be very helpful. I liked your narration style, rated 5*.
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Old 4th April 2018, 23:07   #10
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

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Stunning pictures and a simply narrated complex plot of a road trip. The lush green mountains in Kerala have been my favourite like the Lush green North East Himalayas.
Kindly share the route as an image in google map or even better if you are collecting GPX data while on the go. People have a chance of wandering off on such trails so some reference data would be very helpful. I liked your narration style, rated 5*.
Thank you Sir, your kind words just made my day.

Leaving my most recent travelogue here CT100B: 700 kms of Munnar, done right!, the terrain is similar and since you've mentioned mountains I believe you'd find it interesting as we did visit Kanthalloor as well. Please do share your thoughts.

This is the route on Google Maps, though please note that Maharaja Mettu etc does not show up, so expect to do around 50 km's more than the suggested route.

Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!-meghamalai.png

First time I'm hearing of GPX data log, I understand that the same involved recording GPS data, it would be helpful if you could suggest a reliable Android app for the job.
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Old 6th April 2018, 12:56   #11
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

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First time I'm hearing of GPX data log, I understand that the same involved recording GPS data, it would be helpful if you could suggest a reliable Android app for the job.
GPX data--
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_Exchange_Format

I use GPSpeedometer pro and run it parallel to Google maps on my trip.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...edometergpspro
Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!-img_20171222_121404.jpg

Url used for 3D render - http://doarama.com/
Although Google earth does a decent job but the flyby does not look normal.

Below is the GPX data render from the recent Arunachal drive. You can render the terrain in 3D and make an areal shot of your trip. It becomes lot easier to explain "the terrain was tough" .


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Old 7th April 2018, 00:53   #12
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

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Below is the GPX data render from the recent Arunachal drive. You can render the terrain in 3D and make an areal shot of your trip. It becomes lot easier to explain "the terrain was tough" .
Nothing but WOW!, I've jumped the gun and already purchased another app which claims to get the job done, I'll test it out on my next ride and post the results.

And I have to say, if this doesn't explain "the terrain was tough", I don't know what else will!
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Old 7th April 2018, 07:38   #13
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

Wow surprised to see Meghamalai again. Have the road condition improved? I did the trip to Munnar and Meghamalai a couple of years back. At that time everyone suggested to not go in bike or car as the road conditions were not good. So we parked our bikes in a safe parking place and rented a sumo instead. Even in that our back was aching. That much bad was the road condition and we were pleased that we didn't bring our own vehicles. And while coming back downhill, some part of the sumo broke near the axle and one of the wheel started to wobble. But thank god we reached back safe.
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Old 7th April 2018, 19:15   #14
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: 600 km ride to Meghamalai & beyond!

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Wow surprised to see Meghamalai again. Have the road condition improved? I did the trip to Munnar and Meghamalai a couple of years back. At that time everyone suggested to not go in bike or car as the road conditions were not good. So we parked our bikes in a safe parking place and rented a sumo instead. Even in that our back was aching. That much bad was the road condition and we were pleased that we didn't bring our own vehicles. And while coming back downhill, some part of the sumo broke near the axle and one of the wheel started to wobble. But thank god we reached back safe.
The roads have considerably improved, but average time taken to cover the place would still be long due to the terrain, though I doubt it would be anything to worry about if you go early and return before the curfew, and as the saying goes 'anythings possible if you're brave enough!' But then again having something with awesome ground clearance helps.
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