Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ride to Kodaikanal, my first long ride

Long ride was a pending item in my list, I wanted to see how myself and my bike can perform in such rides and to see if we both are capable for my upcoming long list of tours, I chose Kodaikanal for this ride. Kodai was always in my interest, so planned for it and started on 23rd morning around 7:00 a.m.

I took NH 7 via Hosur, it took me more than an hour just to come out of Bengaluru's traffic, 7:00 a.m is when the traffic slowly starts congesting almost every part of the city, and it was even more when I reached Silk Board junction. Anyways, managed to come out of it. Had breakfast
after Hosur and rode to my destination. NH 7 was really good, neat road! And it was a cloudy day, so scenic near Krishnagiri it almost felt like liberation, really enjoyed the ride till Dharmapuri and then clouds slowly went away making way for the Sun, it was a sunny ride from there, but it was compensated by the wind while riding. Stopped at Salem for a small break and route check, next stop was at Karur. Reached Dindigul around 1:30 p.m, filled petrol to be on the safe side and started to the Hills. The view of Western Ghats was amazing! The silver layer of white clouds covering the tip of the mountains almost looked surreal! And the adrenaline rush that I am actually going to that place in the mountains amplified the excitement.

Entered the mountains, the road was narrow, I rode very slowly, amazing landscapes, think green mountains, blueish sky and suddenly a waterfall almost hiding from the view. Just a perfect mixture of everything a solo traveler could expect.

bvkmohan, kodaikanal

Rode further deep into the mountains, every km inside changed my mood into something more pleasant,  the sunny day turned into cloudy, cloudy day turned into misty. Came across several small villages along the road, truly fortunate they're to live in such beautiful place, made me think about how disconnected we are from the nature. Before entering Kodai, brokers started creeping in from everywhere offering cheap rooms, travel guides and "etc", obviously I looked like an alien with all that riding gear, ignored all of them and straight away went to the Kodaikanal lake. 

Wow! it was so beautiful! I felt relieved from all the tiredness from the ~460 km ride. It was 2:45 p.m, almost looked like 6 in the evening. Took accommodation in a good hotel nearby, had chicken biryani for lunch, it was so tasty! Later I roamed around the lake, you can rent a bicycle and ride along the lake's perimeter, but I had my bike :) There was boating, fast food spots, local made chocolates and handcraft stalls, it had everything to kill the time. It was crowded, but the pleasant foggy climate with the yellowish shade from the street lights made the place so filmy and dramatic. Went back to my accommodation after dinner and roaming and slept off.

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal, kodaikanal lake

Day 2 - Got up bit late around 8 p.m, freshened up and started a ~30 km ride on the hills, I didn't know what places were of interest, thought of riding till the road ends. Took the below route which goes via the Observatory Road.

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal

First stop was at the lake view point, from that place you can see the Kodai's lake, simply mesmerizing view, but it was filled with too many tourists and hell lot of noise! Didn't spend much time there, rode to my next stop at Moir view point, again filled with too many people but the view was out of the world! Well, on top of the clouds! To avoid the tourists chatter I plugged in my earphones and enjoyed the view for a while.

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal, kodaikanal lake

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal, moir view point, moir point

Then I took the road towards Mannavanur which goes along think forests with greenery and breathtaking valleys which are seen towards Palani hill range, at some places the road was so narrow, felt bit dangerous.

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal

And a bit off-road ride here and there :D

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal

Stopped at a tea shop for a break, sunny yet pleasant ride was turned into cloudy. There was a village nearby called Poombarai, the view from the tea shop of that village getting covered in thick clouds was really amazing. Well, I ordered another tea and spent some more time watching that beautiful scene.

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal, poombarai

Next stop was at another village, Mannavanur. I went inside the village as much as I can, the road which I took through Mannavanur goes to another village called Kumbur which was located at lower altitude, road was not well, mostly grainy and was full of stones and potholes. Felt risky, half way down I turned back, took a picture though :D

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal, mannavanur

Next I rode till Elumpallam Lake, that was the last place for the tourists, after that there were few small villages mostly spread on the mountains. I spent some time near the lake and its garden, I was actually alone, no noise, all I could hear was birds chirping and wind gushing. Absolute peace!

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal, elumpallam lake

Rode back to Kodai to my room, it was a thrilling ride! Most of the return ride was covered in a thick layer of fog, so thick that the visibility was almost zero, had to maintain not more than 40 km/h with high beam on. I was drenched by the time I reached my room, it was 6:30 p.m. Took another trip around the lake, bought some local made chocolates and called it a day.

bvkmohan, bvkmohan blog, kodaikanal

Day 3 - Got up at 7 p.m, had tea and slept off again for some more time, was bit tired. Started back to Bengaluru around 2 p.m after a walk around the place where I stayed, bit sunny day which got covered with clouds and fog after a while, that's the best part of mountains. Thought of taking the road via Palani to Bengaluru but somehow I missed taking turn towards Palani and rode into the same road through which I came, shit happens. Most of the return ride was boring, it was the same NH 7 highway, a proper highway. I clicked 130 km/h where ever I can, damn! My bike was rock solid :D practiced cornering and other techniques and by the time I reached Hosur it was a downpour! Secured my language, camera bag with rain covers and started riding again. It was an extremely boring ride on the Highway, wouldn't it feel boring after riding on such scenic roads in a place like Kodai? It does! That's the sign telling you that you're getting back to your usual life. Finally, reached home fully wet from top to bottom and with a happy smile on my face.

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