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Old 31st March 2023, 21:51   #1
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Gandikota's Grand Canyon on a Bajaj Dominar 400

As I prepared for my latest adventure, I felt a rush of excitement and anticipation. This time, I was embarking on a solo trip with my trusty companion, Green Arrow.

I had carefully chosen a new path to explore in Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh and had been planning this journey for quite some time. Memories of the previous year's failed attempt to reach Gandikota were still fresh in my mind. On that same day last year, I had set out for Proddatur.

My friend in Proddatur got married last year, and I attended the wedding with the intention of visiting Gandikota. However, as the saying goes, 'not all plans come together,' and I was unable to make it to Gandikota despite my hopes. Disappointed, I returned home with a mild sense of regret."

However, this year was different. I was determined to make it to Gandikota and conquer whatever challenges lay ahead.

This year, I made a simple yet effective plan. I would ride out on Sunday and return by Monday.

Route Plan:

Day 1:
Chennai - Puttur - Kodur - Rajampet - Proddatur - Gandikota -> Back to Proddatur for stay.

Day 2:

Proddatur - Gudur - Nellore highway - Chennai.

However, I took a wrong turn and ended up going through Kadapa.

Day 1:

I called up my buddy to see if he wanted to join me, but he was busy with some other stuff. No biggie, I thought - I still had my trusty pal Green Arrow to keep me company. I mean, sure, he's a fictional superhero, but he's a great listener and always knows how to shoot straight to the heart of the matter. Plus, he never hogs the playlist!

So, our goal for today is to go sightseeing to three amazing places: Gandikota, Belum Caves, and Yaganti Temple.

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I started my ride at 3 AM this morning from Chennai and filled up my tank with speed fuel at Bharat Petroleum, which is where I usually get my fuel.

I ignited my bike and relished the sound of the engine roaring to life. With the wind in my face, I set off towards Gandikota. Along the way, I kept my friend in the loop with a quick text message and studied the Google Maps route to stay on track.

I drove relentlessly for the next two hours, enjoying the smooth ride until I reached Panimalar college where I made a right turn. As I cruised along at 90 km/h, suddenly, a speed breaker came out of nowhere and I hit it hard. This continued for almost an hour, but I kept my spirits high and continued on my journey.

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As I drove down the single lane road, I encountered a series of challenges that made me question my very existence: blinding headlights, sneaky speed breakers, rogue dogs, and lazy cows. It was like playing a game of Mario Kart in real life, except with no mushrooms to help me out. My poor back was feeling the brunt of it all, and I knew I needed a break. I pulled over at a tea stall and ordered some chai to calm my nerves. I could almost hear Green Arrow sighing in relief, thinking, "Finally, a moment of peace from this crazy driver and his need for speed breaker thrills!

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After a refreshing tea break, I was back on the road. As the sun began to rise, the lights dimmed and I could finally see the road clearly. No more speed breakers, no more stray dogs, no more cows crossing the road. It was just me, my bike, and the open road. With each passing minute, my confidence grew and I found myself cruising at 100 kmph with ease. Green Arrow was probably thinking, "Finally, this guy's got his act together! Let's go, baby!"

Had a quick pitstop to take a couple of pictures and mounted my action cam.

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Actually, this is my first time heading towards Andhra and I'm a bit anxious since I don't have a phone holder on my bike to navigate using maps on the go.

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I thought it won't be a problem as I could see the boards & signs and also able to move as I usually do in NH 45 but I was wrong. Due to this, I drove almost 85 KM additionally somewhere in Tirupati.

I felt like a complete goofball. I had seen the sign pointing right for Kadapa and even updated my WhatsApp status with that location. But despite receiving a few calls and messages, I still managed to foolishly drive straight ahead, leading to an extra 85 KM, tons of wasted time, and some seriously bumpy roads.

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Believe it or not, the rough patch was totally worth it! Once I entered the reserve forest, it was pure bliss. The thrill of navigating those twisty roads was unlike anything I've experienced before. Taking a quick break, I hydrated and fired up my trusty action cam, eager to capture every moment of what was about to unfold - the hairpin turns, the uphill climbs, the breathtaking vistas. It was the perfect trail, an adventure-seeker's dream come true!

Check out these images - lush greenery, a vibrant green motorcycle, and the weather is just perfect after the rainfall last night.

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The Dominar was at its roaring best - you just had to hear the exhaust note reverberating through the forest! It felt like I was soaring through the air. After an hour of riding, I stopped by a bus stop to take a break. The heat had left me parched, so I quenched my thirst and rested for a few minutes before hitting the road again, feeling rejuvenated after just a couple of clicks.

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I was approaching a four-way lane and couldn't decide which way to go, so I just stood there looking like a deer in headlights.

Trying to navigate without a mobile holder was like trying to play Jenga on a rollercoaster. One wrong move and Google Maps went haywire, sending me on a wild goose chase. It was like the app was trying to break its own record for the longest route to a destination. Next time, I'm bringing a paper map and a compass!

After getting lost and driving an extra 85 kilometers, I was determined to find my way back on track. So I pulled into a BP gas station and asked for directions. A friendly guy was more than happy to help me out, but his suggested route was completely unfamiliar to me. With no other options, I decided to take the risk and follow his advice.

To top it off, when I asked for Speed Fuel, they were all out of stock. I had no choice but to fill up with regular fuel. As I was leaving the gas station, the heavens opened up and it started pouring down with rain. But instead of getting discouraged, I embraced the situation and covered my rucksack with a rain cover. The feeling of riding in the rain was indescribable - it was both refreshing and invigorating.

The highway was a dream come true! The wind in my hair and the open road ahead of me, I felt alive. As I approached another BP fuel bunk, my heart sank at the thought of not finding speed fuel again. But nothing could dampen my spirits, so I filled up with normal petrol and took off again.

The scenery was breathtaking and I couldn't resist stopping to snap a few pics. And let's be real, with views like these, who wouldn't want to take a break? The drizzle only added to the charm and I was lucky enough to enjoy the sweet smell of nature without getting soaked. The perfect combination of green arrows, lush trees, and an endless highway left me feeling grateful for this adventure.

After cruising for hours, my stomach started growling like a wild animal. I desperately needed some fuel to power up and continue my journey. Finally, I spotted a dhaba on the roadside, but to my surprise, it was completely empty. Without wasting any time, I walked in and asked for some delicious South Indian food like dosa or idly. But the chef surprised me by offering chapati and parota instead. I couldn't say no to his tempting offer, so I ordered chapati along with a refreshing bottle of water.

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Meanwhile, I was pleasantly surprised when this guy started busting some serious dance moves. It was completely unexpected, but thoroughly entertaining!

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And then I ate the chapati. It tasted like cardboard, but hey, at least it didn't cost me an arm and a leg! It was just 30 rupees, including the bottle. I guess I can't expect a five-star meal in the middle of nowhere.

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Started the ride. The rain was still pouring and I was loving it. It was like a refreshing shower for me and my trusty steed, the Green Arrow. The ride was so smooth, it felt like we were gliding on a magic carpet. I couldn't resist giving it a little throttle and man, it was like the bike was saying "thank you, master" in its own language. I was on cloud nine, or should I say, rain nine!

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Check out these amazing images! Am I the only one falling in love with this picturesque scenery, the atmosphere, the color of my bike, the climate - everything just seems to be perfect. And the way I felt in this place, wet due to the rain, yet energetic and ecstatic, with a huge smile on my face - it's indescribable!

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Finally was nearing Proddatur and pinged my location to my friend. It was just 10 min away and I saw wonderful paddy field on the way.

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I Called my mom and updated my status. Obsessed in taking pictures, so kindly bear with me.

Met my friend and went to his house and had some quality talk for an hour and started to head towards Gandikota.

My friend couldn't join me as he had other stuff to do. He asked his brother to join me. Hence, we both headed to Gandikota.

I have to say, the roads in Andhra were simply amazing. With the exception of a few rough patches spanning about 10-15 kilometers, the roads were a joy to ride on the entire way.

My thoughtful friend had already picked up some delicious biriyani for me, which was ready and waiting when I arrived. Despite the lateness of the hour and the fact that I still had to hit all three of my planned destinations - Gandikota, Belum Caves, and Yaganti Temple - I took the parcel and set out on my journey once again.

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Last edited by raptor_diwan : 31st March 2023 at 22:51.
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Old 31st March 2023, 22:30   #2
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re: Gandikota's Grand Canyon on a Bajaj Dominar 400

The climate was awesome and thankfully, there wasn't much crowd. I decided to have lunch at the top of the cliff, with the rain drizzling down on my face. It was such a wonderful feeling to be in the midst of nature.

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Once I completed my lunch at the top of the cliff, I collected all the trash and put it in a cover to bring it back with me. I made sure not to litter anything there. Unfortunately, the place was already in bad shape, but I decided not to contribute to the litter problem any further.

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And guess what? It was already 4:50 PM. Belum Caves close at 5:30 PM. It wlll almost take 45 minutes to reach there which was somewhat 65 KM away, so I had to drop the plan and headed back slowly to Proddatur to my friend's home.

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My friend came back home and we decided to have masala dosa. It is a famous place for masala Dosas or all variety of dosa, Shop name was Sagar.

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We chowed down on some mouthwatering masala dosa.

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I was crashing at my buddy's place and we rode back home, where things got heated - literally! His uncle started a bonfire right outside the house, and boy, did we have a lively chat. Now, this guy is a big shot in politics, and naturally, we ended up talking about the TN and AP political scene. I tried my best to avoid any conflicts accidentally, leading the conversation towards climate and land prices instead. Needless to say, there was a whole lot of talk that night, and we eventually called it a night.

I told my buddy I was going to hit the road at 4 a.m. or earlier - talk about an ungodly hour! I asked him for directions and crawled back into bed. But then he had the nerve to ask me to call him before leaving. Like, dude, who wants to be bothered that early in the morning? I mean, I'm not a rooster!

Anyways, I was so beat that I slept like a rock.

Last edited by raptor_diwan : 31st March 2023 at 22:31.
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Old 31st March 2023, 22:39   #3
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re: Gandikota's Grand Canyon on a Bajaj Dominar 400

Day 2:


The next day, I woke up and checked the time. It was a ridiculously early 3 a.m. But, I was feeling fresh and raring to go. I fired up the engine at precisely 3:34 a.m. and began my journey towards Chennai.

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I filled up my tank at the only Indian Oil bunk I could find.

For this trip, I decided to take the Nellore route, which was great for the most part, except for a few pesky potholes and speedbreakers that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

I made a quick pitstop for a cup of tea and to grab a bottle of water before hitting the road again.

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After a while, the sun began to shine brighter than ever before, and my Dominar was picking up some serious speed on the Nellore highway. The road was smooth as butter, with no blind spots or curves in sight, so I was able to maintain a steady pace without any interruptions.

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I eventually made a quick pitstop to hydrate and catch my breath, but soon enough, I was back on the road, raring to go!

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Finally, at 9 o'clock, I saw a sign that read "Just 143 KM to Chennai." I knew I could cover that distance in an hour and was hopeful that I'd be home by 10, or at the very latest, 10:30.

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I took a few pictures of the sign and had a quick chat with my mom before hitting the road once again.

Silly me, I didn't properly read the sign. I was so focused on the blue board with the word "Chennai" that I missed the fact that the sign actually indicated that Chennai was straight ahead, and there was no straight road in sight. All I could see was the left arrow and the word "Chennai."

So, I made the mistake of taking a left turn and sped down the road at soem good speed for about 15 minutes before realizing my mistake. When I checked the map, I was shocked to find that my estimated travel time had increased by 30 minutes! That's when I realized that I was supposed to take a right turn, not a left.

I have a quiz for you, and I promise it will be both entertaining and amusing!

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So, you're standing in front of a sign board that says "Straight" but there's no road in sight. Hmm, what to do, what to do?

Well, let's tehink about it logically. Maybe the road is invisible like the invisible cloak from Harry Potter? Or maybe it's a secret entrance to a hidden city like in the movie "Atlantis"?

But in all seriousness,I think the best solution would be to consult your GPS or maybe ask a local for directions. Or if you're feeling adventurous, you could just close your eyes, spin around three times, and then choose a direction to walk in. Who knows, maybe you'll end up discovering a new shortcut to Chennai!

And who knows, maybe you'll end up with a funny story to tell about that time you got lost trying to find Chennai like me.

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I took a U-turn, filled up my tank at a Bharat Petroleum station, and felt a bit tense. I was driving continuously to reach Chennai as soon as possible, but I made sure to maintain legal speed limits at all times. Even though I lost 30 minutes of my time, I was in complete control.

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I headed towards Marina Beach and stopped there for a while to take a walk and quench my thirst.

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Next stop - Home. Finally reached my humble abode at 10.50 AM, as expected (I may be slow, but I'm consistent). I called my friend to thank him for the hospitality and let him know I made it back alive (barely). It was a great solo trip to Andhra, but there are still plenty of unexplored places to discover (I'm a pioneer, after all).

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As soon as I walked through the door, the aroma of chicken 65 hit me like a ton of bricks (I didn't know I could move that fast). Breakfast was out of the question, so I indulged in a well-deserved brunch complete with sweet kesari and passed out in a food coma (mission accomplished).

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As for my bike, it was its usual top-notch self - still strong enough to take on another 1000 km ride. As for me? Let's just say I'm feeling a little less invincible (I blame the sweet kesari). The bike got an impressive 30 kmpl mileage on this trip - pretty good, but I think I lost a few liters of sweat in the process. But the real MVP of this ride? That one photo at the scenic lookout that's worth every penny I spent on this trip.

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Last edited by raptor_diwan : 31st March 2023 at 23:13.
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Old 1st April 2023, 05:02   #4
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Re: Gandikota's Grand Canyon on a Bajaj Dominar 400

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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