Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BOBMC Ride in Bengaluru

It's just been 5 months shifted back to base - Bangalore and love being back home.

I've always looked for an opportunity to ride on my Bullet - wherever possible - far from the concrete jungle and meet old friends. It had been almost 5 years now - riding in Bangalore - excited to see the change.

Servicing done a week's prior for the ride, it's a small ride but not to take any chances. The BOBMC ride was from Hebbal to Nandi Hills. All Clubs had been notified of the ride - Bullets, KTM, Harleys etc - huge numbers were expected ,,,,

Ride Day ( May 01st, 2016) Bengaluru
The meeting point was near Hebbal at 6AM . It was a short ride but the excitement started to build a day before. Woke up early and left an hour to the venue. Had to take a deviation in MG Road -as a Start up marathon had been organized. Reached Hebbal on time , great to to meet old Riders from Rtmc. I was stunned for a moment to see the gathering,,,my gosh - lot of bikes for BOBMC.
Bullets were everywhere.

We soon headed from Hebbal to Nandi Hills.
It was my first ride on the new elevated highway towards the Bengaluru Airport - indeed it was an excellent stretch. I soon noticed a couple hundred Bikes lined up for the ride - it included all brands of bikes and it was a sight to see,,,
Met a couple of my old friends from RTMC and RKMC ,,,,
we soon rode off to our planned destination.

It had been ages riding with RTMC and loved every bit before taking the diversion to Nandi Hills.
The roads were very well done,,,soon, riders were on a good speed heading towards Nandi Hills.
The stopover was at Discovery Village on the foothills - a perfect place to host a mega event. As the crowd was big - there was no introduction session - soon gathered for a memorable pic. Breakfast was good.

I soon bid farewell to all riders as i headed back to Bengaluru. I took a round trip via Discovery village to Nandi Hills and back. This was more a Solo ride back home

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Road Trip to the Mahakumbh

Road Trip to the Mahakumbh,,,

As stories built up about people traveling to Allahabad, i was eager not to miss it this time. 
The Last Mahakumbh was 12 years earlier while i just started my Career in American Express - New Delhi. I wouldn't have dream't to travel on a local train and get to Allahabad for Darshan. 
Well, i was lucky now - to be very close to Allahabad.
Thanks to Chetan (my younger brother – a Photographer) who gave me inputs about “The Mahakumbh” and told me stories about Sadhus, largest Human gathering on earth, loads of people,,,etc.

Plan – while I started my search on the Internet for accommodations, it seemed a failure to get any hotel bookings at all. The price for 1 night accommodation in a decent Hotel – approx.Rs.8000.00,,,wow – that’s a lot of money. I spent a similar amount traveling while i flew from Chennai to Colombo. Well,,,,it was now time for jugaad and look out for more options.
My GRD friend – Bhupinder, a very close friend from my school days. He missed the reunion last year in Dehra Dun. He is settled now in Mirzapur and runs a Transport Company.
My plan was to travel on my bike from Patna to Mirzapur via Varanasi. Stay at Bhupinder’s place, a one day visit to Allahabad and other places and ride back next day to Patna. 

Day 1    27th Jan.2013
Maner-Ara-Mohania-Varanasi-Chuna-Mirzapur  (280 Kms)
I never planned to the Bike Trip today, i guess – that "enthu"built in me when the Patna bikers headed to Maner on 26th January for a small road trip. As the mornings were cold and foggy, today was slightly a better day with clear skies. I just woke up in the morning to check out on the weather and decided to ride,,,
By 9ish – I was out on the roads once again to ride to Allahabad. Wow – whatta feeling to ride after 2 years. To top it – this was my 2nd solo trip after RM Kolkata. I missed my riding jacket and other gear, but I had the basics to ride with.
The ride from Maner to Ara was excellent – just to get the hang of riding. The NH 30 from Ara widens with double lane roads and wider,,,wow,,,as it was early morning,,,found less traffic and was zooming at goodspeed. Who says – the roads are bad in Bihar, thanks to the new government – the roads are much better now and safer,,otherwise I wouldn’t have dared to drive solo,,,
From Ara to Mohania is a National Highway – early morning breeze, the Sun and yellow mustard fields – nothing beats riding early in the morning with the Bud Bud sound buzzing your ears,,,Once I reached Mohania – I had to take a right to on the main GT road,,,this GT road connects from Kolkata to New Delhi and further ahead,,,,I remember doing this 2 years earlier when Royal Beasts did the road trip to RM Kolkata – I joined the Beasters mid way from Aurangabad to Kolkata.
Bhupinder – my friend had given me guidance from Mohania to Mirzapur. I had to travel another 40 kms.on the main GT road and before reaching Varanasi – take a diversion. Once I reached the main bridge, I took the diversion for Mirzapur.
I just had a tea break in between and my waz  bit hungry now. Stopped near the bus stop for some oily bread pakoras and samosas – something I try to avoid while biking. As it was noisy and dusty – I soon headed out fo Mirzapur.
This was a smaller road – but the National Highway – and the roads were bad. Bhupi had informed me about the roads – but I couldn’t help but keep on riding.
I could feel the difference here as now – I was in Uttar Pradesh. There were stretches were I got stuck in traffic jam – as it crossed villages with dense population. From Chunar further – the roads were better,,it was now time to belt on,,,,
By noon – it was time to take a break as Mirzapur was not far. From Chunar further – roads were better and I was cruising at good speed, I had to stop at 2 railway crossings before I reached Mirzapur.
I really cant express how excited I was to meet Bhupinder – after 13 years,,,,that’s a long time. We finally reached home,,time to relax and enjoy home food, beer and chat on old stories from school.

Day 2    28th Jan.2013
Mirzapur-Allahabad-Vindhyachal-Mirzapur  (200 kms)
Its about 1 ½ ride to Allahabad, i was at ease and not in a hurry to reach Allahabad. Had a quick breakfast and headed for Allahabad.
The roads were similar to what I had ridden yesterday. Of course, I could spot loaded buses heading for Mahakumbh and swanky cars – Fortuners, Tavera’s, Scorpios with pilgrims from various states heading for the grand mela.
Thanks to the UP administration – they had done a fantastic job on organizing such a mega event. I couldn’t believe once I was there – you are at “one of the worlds biggest human gathering on earth”.
After a quick view on the outskirts of Sangam, we headed for a boat ride. This was more spiritual – as we had to take a bath in Sangam. In the afternoon – at the ghats, Sun was burning. We visited one of the Akharas – to get blessings from one of the Naga babas. There were more than 21 akharas here, all full with devotees standing outside.
Pilgrims had come from all parts of India and loads of “Bideshi” tourists. The bathing ghat’s were full of pilgrims ready to take the sacred dip. It was very well organized – police patrols all over, information kiosks at every turns, medical & help centers.
He was from Jabalpur and knew Sanskrit. Nice to talk to. We visited  a few more babas. I found lots of photographers who had come here to click pictures, of course – where would you get such lovely portraits. We took a few bottles of water and soda’s to get away from the heat.
By noon – we were done doing the Darshan of Mahakumbh. There was lots to see but since I had a only a day for Allahabad, I had more places to visit.
I bid farewell to Mahakumbh and headed once again back to Mirzapur.
We stopped close to Mirzapur to Vindyachal – one of very important Hindul pilgrim centres. A quick darshan at the temple and back to base – Mirzapur by evening.
I met Bhupinder’s friend and we headed for the bar,,,,
Time to relax as it was a long ride back home

Day 3    29th Jan.2013
Mirzapur-Chunar-Mohania-Sasaram-Ara-Maner (340 kms)
I left by 8 am as had a long day to cover. It was the same route back to Varanasi, so I was familiar now with the roads. I was rather belting early in the morning with no traffic et all. Bhupinder had informed me about the Chunar fort and its horror stories, I was not gonna miss it.
I reached Chunar by 10 am and asked people about the Chunar Fort. An uphill of 2 kms, this was a very big fort. Unfortunately, the Chunar Fort had now turned in a Police Base. The view of the river over looking the plains was breathtaking. With a few clicks, I was back with my helmet on and headed further for Varanasi.
I reached Varanasi pretty early and was on the GT road once again. I was belting on the GT road. Once I got to Mohania, I enquired about Sasaram. From Mohania to Sasaram – its 60 kms and a 1 hour drive. It was a smooth drive right to Sasaram. Once I got to Sasaram, I had to take a deviation for the Tomb.
Sasaram, is a small quiet town very well connected to the National Highway. The Sher Shah Tomb is a UNESCO Heritage sight. One of the Mughal Kings who build the grand – G.T road.
I crossed the main bazaar area to get to the main junction. After asking a few people – I got to the main place. Parked my Bullet and headed for a visit.
My gosh – this place was incredible. The tomb looked superb as it was surrounded by a lake. A very quiet place with lots of greenery around. I took a few pics and headed for the main tomb. It is unfortunate, that not many people know about this place, even I was under the assumption – that the Tomb was worn down, by here – the Archaeological Survey of India had done a fantastic job. 
I could not spot any local guide who took me around - may be, i could have got more details on the history.
After a short visit, i was on the move to get out of the city and head back home. 
Sasaram to Maner is 2 hours (131 Kms). I asked a few people about the road to Arrah - the nearest town,
Once again, i was on the highway. 
This route from Sasaram to Maner was amazing - not much traffiic, superb road and good speed. 
I stopped at Udwant nagar - a few kilometres before Arrah - to taste some "Belgrami" - a sweet delicacy.
It was noon while i reached Arrah and was not headed towards Koilwar and then to Maner. I reached Maner by 3 pm and relaxed for a while. Yeah, an accomplishment to have visited Mahakumbh.

Well, as now my trip came to an end, i finally decided that i need to explore more of Bihar roads. Now, i feel safe driving and much more to explore.
This was 2nd longest road trip visiting my old school friend, Mahakumbh and Sasaram.

Hope i get to ride and visit Allahabad after 12 years.

Ride Safe.

Day 1

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Trip to Pondicherry

I had planned this trip well in advance for a weekend vacation with Soma.
This was post RM 12 - in New Delhi.

Research - There is enough material you will get on the internet about Pondicherry and Auroville - before you make your travel plans. I sat for 1 day just looking for stuff what could be the best option for stays, sea food and traveling around. Of course - whenever i travel with Soma - we make sure - we avoid the touristy stuff and give more time to ourselves - chill and relax.
While i was digging for more information about the guest houses in Auroville - i got to know that guest houses were completely blocked due to the Auroville Marathon. Gosh !!!!
Well - on further research we managed to get more information of homestays,,,,

Day1- 10th Feb, 2012 (Bangalore to Pondicherry) travel
In Mahabalipuram
As it was a weekend rush, adding to it the Auroville Marathon - the bus stand at Madiwala was busy. It looked more like the Majestic bus stand. People were traveling to all destinations in South. We boarded the Indira Travels bus at Madiwala at 11 PM. Bus was neat and good seats to rest. We tried to get the Volvo bus - but was full. I didn't get enough sleep while traveling. Soma slept early while i was busy surfing around with my new Samsung Galaxy S. Listened to music,,,
While i woke up in the early hours,,,i could see the mile stone having a different language - Tamil. We were close to our destination.
Pondicherry was not far. We delayed a bit in the night,,,,reached Pondicherry by 7AM.


Day2- 11th Feb, 2012 (Pondicherry, Bike Trip to Mahabalipuram, Auroville) 210 Kms
My 1st thingy was to get the bike arrangements done - as it would make our travel much easier. Thanks to Gopi and his contacts (an old friend from JNU and Mountaineering Club friend) who resides in Pondy - managed to get me Felix's contact. Felix has 3 Bullets in his garage and rents his 1st floor house only for couples. Well - the rooms were decent - but we were more interested to have room facing the sea.
After a quick introduction - i got Blue Bullet Electra on rent. Thanks to Felix - this was a brand new bike - odo count was less than 30k & disc brakes. Wow - that was a good deal. Most surprising was that the owner - did not ask for any additional papers nor security money. He just told me to call at the end of the day. Wonder - this happens in other states as well.
Tanked up full and headed straight for Auroville.

Rajiv and Soma - Pondy
Pondy to Auroville is not far - reached about 9ish and started the hunt for the guest house. As i knew - accommodation was not easy et all. I tried 1st in the Auroville Ahram side but could not get any. Later, one of the locals helped to get one on the Auroville beach. Infact, there are many on the Auroville beach itself. We settled for a good deal at Babu's Cottage Inn. Our shack was facing the Bay of Bengal and had a superb view of the beach.

After a quick break, we headed out for our tour to Pondy and then to Mahabalipuram.

If you are on a bike - Pondicherry is a very small town. You can easily navigate and can find your way out of Pondy. The central place at the Pondicherry Secretariat is worth a visit. The view is simply amazing. Traveling to any of the by-lanes further - you will be reminded of a French Architecture. We took a few shots and headed further to Mahabalipuram.

Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram
i always wanted to do this stretch. It reminds me of the RM we had in Chennai - when i was traveling with the Royal Beasts from Bangalore via Pondy to the venue. Wow, that was a ride i will never forget. 
The ECR highway is one of the best routes in India - one could ever think of driving. Nice sexy roads, beautiful view of the sea and some places - you will get to see the backwaters and the Bay of Bengal. In all - you have to ride on this 100 kms stretch - to catch the real action. 

After a quick brunch near the Pondicherry University - we headed for Mahabs. It was afternoon - and the day was getting hotter. As soon as we left the city, the weather was much cooler to ride. Thanks to Felix - the superb bike he had. I was doing a 90/100 - and zooming on the highway. I don't have much words to express who beautiful it was riding on this stretch. 
We stopped in between for a break and headed further for Mahabalipuram. We reached by 2:30 in the afternoon. My old friend - Prem and his wife were suppose to come from Chennai. We met them an hour later. Thanks to Prem - who helped us out for a very good lunch and a chilled bear near the Mahabalipuram beach. After a good break , we decided to head back to Pondy as it was a long ride back home. 
We left from Mahabalipuram at 5pm so that we could reach Pondy before dark. 
For about  an hour - i did a good speed to head back as i did not want to drive in the night. Traffic gets crazy in the night - as it was weekend and a Saturday night. Guess, the entire Chennai comes to Pondy for a break on the weekend. 
We reached our cottage in Auroville by 8ish. As we were tired - we did not venture out and settled for a nice dinner. The firewood Chicken pizza was yummy,,,,

Day3- 12th Feb, 2012 (Auroville, Pondicherry, ) 43 Km
This was our last day in Pondy and had to leave in the late hours to Bangalore. 
Soma wanted to do some shopping. We left Auroville by 9 and headed for the Local Sunday bazaar in Pondy. Dont miss the bazaar if you happen to be in Pondy during the weekends. Clothes are cheap and we can a good deal. We visited the Hidesign store at Nehru street. The store was fascinating and it had a gallery on the 3rd floor - where one could see photos when the store started - had old collection of bags. 
We visited a the Indian Coffee house. Me and Soma had the so called French breakfast at - Cafe Flunch- in rue de Bazar - Saint Laurent. Dont miss this place - quiet and superb place to have breakfast. 

As time was running short - we left for our last visit to Auroville. We visited the Auroville center in the afternoon. Also visited a dairy farm - not so popular. A French couple had settled in Auroville and decided to make French Cheese - they supply to a few agencies. We tasted the Cheddar Cheese - amazing taste. 
If you want to really chillax and do some meditation - Auroville is the place. Auroville is a very quiet place - we really enjoyed visiting this place. The information centre and shopping area - was worth a visit. 

In Pondicherry
We wanted to visit -the Paradise beach - as one of our blogger had suggested. We reached the venue at 4 - but unfortunately - it was closed. 
Dont miss Paradise beach if you are in Pondy and have a long vacation ahead. 

Had a quick dinner at 8ish, left the bike at Felix's house and took the bus for Bangalore.

Adios Pondicherry.

Overall, the trip was excellent. 
Pondicherry is a good place to visit over the weekend - espcecially for Bangaloreans. 
Try to rent a bike if you can - travel is much more easier. Dont miss the Sea food.

Useful Infomation
1. Babu Cottage Inn
    Auro Beach, Periyamudaliarchavady, Kottakuppam, Tamil Nadu
    0091 90431 06885
    Rent : Rs500 per day - shacks
2. Ajantha Beach Guest House
    No 1-A1 Bazar Saint Laurent Street, Beach Road, Puducherry 1
 3. Bike rental
     Felix - 0091 9894020528
     Rental - Rs 500 per day
 4.  Cafe Flunch
     24 Rue de Bazar Saint Laurent, Pondicherry

Friday, March 11, 2011

Me,mi amor and Chickmaglur

You would be thinking by now - what does mi amor mean ?
It's from Spanish "mi love"

This ride was specially dedicated to my wife on our 1st anniversary.

I have been to Chickmaglur a couple years back with some of my friends but i always wanted to do a bike ride and enjoy the beautiful scenery in the Coffee Plantations.

Initially, we had planned for Valparai - a small tiny Hill Station off Coimbatore. But due to non-availability of holidays, we decided to ride down on a weekend to Chickmaglur.

Our plan was to ride on the weekend - i.e. Saturday early morning. Reach Chickmaglur by 1PM. Take rest and see the nearby places. 
Sunday - was more on leisure and have a easy ride to Bangalore.

Saturday (05th March.2011)
Bangalore>Magadi>Kunigal>Hassan>Chickmaglur :  260 Kms.
Places visited: Chickmaglur, Mullayanagiri, Maharaja's restaurant

We started at 7:20 AM, oh yes - since i had not touched my bike past 1 month. I initially had problems starting at the Shell petrol bunk. With a few 50 odd kicks - i finally had the engine running to start off. 
Yeah - once again on the highway. Home to Magadi is one amazing route and thanks to Nice Road - one hell of a highway.No more Bangalore Traffic,,,Once we touched the main Highway (NH 48) - it was an easy ride. 
I had done this route last year on the Ride to Rappa - so it was easy. Now, the roads were much better and it was one straight highway. 
We stopped at Kunigal for Breakfast. Some cars caught my eyes on the roadside and i knew - it must be some famous Sukh/Shanthi Sagar (Dhaba) around. We belted with fresh Idli's n crispy Vada's and maseladaar chai. Wow - whatta a meal. Mind you - the breakfast was pretty costly here. 
As we road further down - we could only spot a few cars on the highway. Once we reached Hassan - it was crazy traffic and wanted to get out of the city. 
Enroute to Chickmaglur
Now - it was just another 65 kms to Chickmaglur. With lovely sign boards on the roads - says - " Karnataka - One State, Many Worlds " - we were eager to reach our destination. We got a beautiful stretch were we spotted a lake with windmills. Quick snaps & quick break. 
We were in Chickmaglur at 1PM. Gave a call to Ansar - owner of Nature Craft Homestay - he advised to have lunch at the Maharaja's.
I guess that was a good advice - the Mutton Biryani, Ghee rice with Mutton fry was simply awesome. My mouth still water's when i write this blog,,,,if you make a visit - dont miss the Maharaja's - the cuisine on Mughlai food rocks. 
We soon headed for the Homestay which is 8kms off the main town. 

Nature Craft Homestay - few words to describe this place. Amidst Coffee plantations n thick green vegetation, away from the City noise - tucked is a small Homestay. It was the place we imagined- Ansar's family, Soxy and the ambeince was simply superb. 
Took a short nap post lunch and headed straight for Mullayanagiri. The ride to the top was one kick ass. It's one of the tallest peaks in Karnataka - so you can imagine !!!!. And you have to climb 450 steps to the temple. We had to reach base by 6 - as it gets dark, so we trekked fast to get a view. A 360 view of the entire landscape - this left us baffled. You could see far off - the Chickmaglur town and the Baba Budan Giri ranges. We got a few shots of the sunset and head back to base. 
A few drinks, chicken biryani - it was worth a memorable day.
At Mullangiri ranges
Sunday (06th March.2011)
Chickmaglur>Kemmangundi>Lingadahalli>Birur>Arsikere>Gubbi>Tumkur>Bangalore: 270 Kms.
Places visited: Kemmangundi,Kalhatti Falls

After breakfast, we soon left for Kemmengundi. Thanks to Ansar's advise and route map - The 40 Kms ride from Chickmaglur to Lingadahalli was one of the best scenic rides i would have done. 
There was not a single place that was left empty - only Coffee Plantations - lush green. I had taken off my sun glasses to enjoy the ride,,,
Riding to Kemmengundi Top was fun. Here, it was slightly warmer. As we reached Kemmengundi Top - the view was spectacular. We spotted a few trekkers ,,,
Spent some valuable moments at the top. We soon headed down hill as we wanted to reach Bangalore before Sunset. 

From Lingadahalli to Birur was an off beat road - dusty with pot holes. Once we got to the NH206 - roads were much better.
I was pretty surprised to see that almost every village was connected to the main highway. And the NH206 simply rocked - i was belting on the highway. We did not spot many trucks on this route - but there was lot of tourist buses. Pretty hot by 2pm - Arsikere had a small stretch touching a lake. Reached Tumkur by 5:30 pm to halt for some chai n snacks. I was even faster once we got the NH4 to Bangalore - we took the Nice road to Banerghatta road. But the time we reached home - it was dark - 7PM. 

We really enjoyed this trip and covered so many places. Thanks to "the Blue" my Bike - Electra. After an odometer count of 93K - it still rocks without any trouble.

Catch you soon on the highway >>>>

Rajiv Jispa
(Member of Royal Beasts & RTMC)

Jispa-enroute to Chickmaglur

Friday, December 3, 2010

Monarchs of motorcycling - Royal Beasts

An Article published in the Hindu - March 28th, 2005 (with permission)

WHAT BRINGS them together is their twin passion - Love for the Royal Enfield bike and wanderlust. They call their club Royal Beasts, after the Enfield, which they say epitomises who they really are. According to them they are different for the very reason that they choose to ride the powerful Royal Enfield bike.

This unique Delhi-based motorcycling club is only three years old but has over 200 members. The members are from all walks of life and the age ranges from 18 years to 70.

Karthik, Rajiv, Raja & Amar
"We come together because of our common obsession for travel and the Royal Enfield bike but soon discover we have a lot of other things in common as well," says Imran, a member of the club.

The club does not have any administrative wing, office or address. It is as informal as clubs can get. The meetings are held every Sunday at a roadside dhaba near the Qutab Institutional Area where the members discuss their riding adventures and future expeditions over cups of chai-patti. From time to time the members go biking in small or big groups to different parts of the country.

The bike means many things to many people. For Rishi riding his Royal Enfield bike is nothing short of meditation. "No matter where I ride the bike, the experience is spiritual," he says.

For others like Waseem, the Royal Enfield symbolises strength and class and makes a powerful statement about the rider. "Royal Enfield is the most powerful bike on Indian roads and when it is on the road it signifies authority. This authority is reflected on the rider too," he says.

No commerce

The Royal Beasts members may adore the Royal Enfield bike but they would never like to promote it on a commercial basis. "Ours is an exclusive club of adventure. We don't want any kind of commerce to enter our club. It will ruin everything," says Kartik.

For this reason the club refuses any sponsorship for their cross-country bike expeditions.

"It is a very free and independent group, and we do our own thing. If sponsorship comes in, one has to listen to the dictates of the sponsors. That goes against the spirit of our club. We encourage our members to save money and expect them to be enthusiastic enough to spend their own money for the expeditions," says Kartik.

Therefore any Royal Enfield enthusiast who wants to join their club is thoroughly examined before being accepted as one of them. Tour operators are especially discouraged from joining the club. "It is not just love for the machine, the member should also share the passion for adventure and travel, says Mahima, 19, the only female member of the club.

She has her own Royal Enfield bike and rides it to her college everyday.

The club was founded three years ago by Kartik and his friends. "We saw that most people who rode the Royal Enfield were different, so we decided to contact them," he says.

Kartik and his friends would approach anyone riding the Royal Enfield bike and ask them if they would want to join their club. If the rider was not around they would stick a slip of paper to the bikes with their contact numbers.

"Gradually people started contacting us and our club was formed," says Kartik.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Enchanting Tamil Nadu – Yercaud & RTMC 9A

RTMC 9A - Hotel Shevaroys

When you finally think of Tamil Nadu – you must be feeling the heat n sweat by now, but that’s not true. And if you from North India – you will never ever think of driving here,,,nahhhh. Driving in TN is safe, perfect roads and you just need to check as to what time of the year you are riding ,,,,
Tucked away near Salem , lies a small hill station called as –Yercaud. (Poor man’s Ooty) I finally convinced my wife – that we are going to a hill station and to attend the mega fest – RTMC 9A.

Well, we started preparations pretty early – getting bike serviced and looking for the perfect opportunity to ride with fella riders – RTMCIans.
I had to change plans on the 09th morning as I had to give my 1st project synopsis presentation. Gosh – here goes the MBA once again. My wife cursed to hell – “we would be riding alone and not with the group”,,,
We left early for the NMIMS campus at 9 – gave the presentation and I was out on the highway by 10:30

RTMC 9A - Party Venue

09th October,2010 Yercaud, RTMC 9A
Route: Bangalore>Hosur>Krishnagiri>Dharmapuri>Salem>Yercaud

As I wanted to get rid of the busy chaotic traffic – I took the service lane so that I could get out of the city. From Hosur – the traffic reduced, wider roads n speeding a bit– now,,,as I was getting the taste of “Belting”.

The ride
My plan was to reach Yercaud by 4ish so that I could enjoy the party and meet old freinds. Since I had donethis route quite often – stopped at the outskirts of Leyland factory (Sipcot)– had breakfast n tanked up. Till Krishnagiri – it was smooth.
Last time (a year back)- I rode on this route. The roads were dug up and highway was in a mess with loads of potholes and crazy traffic. When I finally crossed the Krishnagiri bridge – Wow – I could not believe it. The highway was superb – 4 lane, dividers with plants and superb mark up. It just seemed that I was travelling from point A to B – without even movin my handle bar. One straight road n you just lock,,, If you chose – you can sleep on the highway--but at your risk.

I did not even notice when Dharmapuri crossed by. By 2 – me and Shoma decided to take a break. We settled at a small Dhaba nearby for some Chai. Speaking to locals is always fun – but if you don’t understand the language – it’s much more fun. The Dhabha we stopped by – was fairly a new one. They had opened just after the new highway was done.

After a quick twenty minute break – we rode to Salem. When you are riding with your wife or kids – you always fear that you bike doesn’t screw up – flat tyre, engine problem, cable wires etc. Well, I was lucky here – all nuts n bolts were intact and the engine was running smooth.

Before reaching Salem – we had a glance of Periyar University and then headed towards the hills. We took a small chai break – tanked up and started for the Servarayan Hills. (Eastern Ghats)

Riding in the hills is always fun. This was a 36km uphill with 20 hairpin bends to follow pass. I kept at a normal pace as I was in no hurry to reach the venue. As we drove up gaining elevation, I could feel n sense the fresh air buzzing by my helmet. It was calm with lots of lush green vegetation. In far distance, you could see Salem town. Shoma (my wife) loves riding in the hills. After gaining at an altitude of 4970 ft - we were at the top – Yercaud. We settled for a few pics – quoting – we were here in Yercaud. And drove to the Venue – Hotel Shevaroys.

RTMC 9A Party
Buoy,,it was sight to see. 160 bikes parked. A sight to see at the venue. By the time I could greet everyone, someone just said “ek baar check in kar lo” baad mein mil lena. I guess he was true. Thanks to RTMC – as now – being part of the RTMC couple gang – we got lovely rooms – overlooking the Yercaud hills. Simply awesome.
There are host of events – arm wrestling, maid race n lemon n spoon race. We soon settled for evening snacks n pakoda’s. A break in between,,the party was yet to start at 7.
We were at the venue - an unbelievable sight. Everyone’s was partying. Had their stock tanked in bottles n cans. The usual Cake cutting ceremony n Bose Sir’s speech.
What caught everyone’s eye were the Kovai Thumpers – Coimbatore. All decked up in white Dhotis – lungi. There took over the dance floor and were dancing to glory. A sight not to be missed. Soon, others members joined and party was it’s peak. Some settled for the outside – a dual party in action. We spoke to some fellas from Kovai Thumpers – seemed a pretty new club. Heard their stories of an unusual place – Valparai. A mix of Ooty n Kodai – that’s’ where we heading for November for travel. As the night got colder, only a handful could be seen in the parking area. By 1ish – we called it a day.

10th October,2010 Yercaud sight seeing, back home
Route: Yercaud>Salem>Dharmpuri>Krishnagiri>Hosur>Bangalore

Breakfast was served at the lawns. As usual, many of the riders had left early. Mysore bulls had a long way to go. I was not in a hurry as I had ample time to do some sight seeing and head back home.
As I mentioned earlier, Yercaud was not a new place – so I we went to off-beat locations. A quick tour of the Yercaud lake, we headed for the Montford School. The prayers were going on so we could not get a tour of the school. But we managed to click some fotos. We went to Pagoda point and Fairholme Bungalow. Enroute pagoda point – there is a temple which not many people would have visited.

Temple Ride

In Yercaud - somewhere
I had done this small tourist route with friends last visited in Yercaud. Here, the climb was extremely high with thick vegetation of Coffee n Oranges. It took us almost 25 minutes to the Hill Top. Wow, what a view. The Eastern Ghats looked spectacular. We found a few families who had from Salem to spend their Sundays. Fortunately, this place was not discovered, neither on the Tourist map. Good. Some relaxing n photo shoot, we soon headed for Yercaud Town. 

Ride back home
By 11, we were all geared up and bid adios to Yercaud. I was once on the highway alone belting back home. I only spotted a few riders en route – were mostly the organizing committee members n late lateefs. Riding was as usual, except those dragonfly’s that created a nuisance. There were like Kamikaze’s hitting my visor and had to clean – at quite a few intervals. We stopped before Krishnagiri toll – some chai n snacks and zoomed for Nice road.

Once we were at Nice Road – it felt like – we were home. We reached by 4 pm – relaxed in the evening and sipping tea to Glory, recalling the wonderful memories we had spent in our trip to “Enchanting Tamil Nadu”.

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see

Rider : Rajiv (Jispa)
Pillion : Shoma (Wife)
Bullet : Royal Enfield – Electra 2002 (Dilli da number)
Kms : 560
Petrol : Don’t ever think – you’r not a rider then,,,

Temple Ride - Yercaud

Friday, July 2, 2010

Monsoon Magik at Shivanasamudra

The Plan:
One evening - out of the blue, i received in my Office mail (from Rony Saab) - "Yaar, Kahin Chalo. Mera Dum guth Raha hain Bangalore Main." As one followed the other, a chain of mails started floating around as to where to ride. Woof-i am totally out of places for short rides and anything that i would be thinking of - would be a repitition. Manish(another Jaali) popped to ride to a waterfall and taking advantage of the Monsoons. A short ride on Sunday with a good shower in the falls would be fun. So, our plan was to have a short ride to Shivanasamudra and hit back to base. I dont trust these 2 Jaalis - as they never carry a route map and a ride plan. So, i decided to do a small search on the place and route. Here's what i got about this place,,,

Shivanasamudrais probably the largest waterfall in the Karnataka after Jog Falls. The place is also credited for hosting the first hydroelectric project in India. Here, Kaveri splits into two, falls into a valley in two separate places called Gaganachukki and Bharachukki and re-unites downstream. A good lot of water falls down from both the waterfalls. Gaganachukki especially is a steep fall where water gushes down with great velocity. It is quite risky to climb down and reach waters because of un-predictable depth and slippery rocks.

The Ride:
We met up at 6am at Oracle GFIC-near Shoppers Stop-Mantri-Banerghatta Road. I soon found an old RTMCian - Rocky and Pallavi heading towards Mysore for a 1 day ride.Manish was lil bit hungry by the time Rony and Pooja came. Without wasting time - the 3 Jaali's left for the highway. Once we passed Kanakpura, i could see Rony just zooming by on his Green Vintage bullet.Then followed Manish on an older version,,,. We were so engrossed to ride on that we did not even stop for Tea. By 8ish, we settled for Breakfast. Wow, the idli's and vada's were awesome with loads of spice. It was a superb morning amidst clear skies n fresh air sippin coffee. Once again, we hit the road crossing Galibore Fishing camp. I rode on this route when i was new to Bangalore (in 2004) and the roads were pathetic but now - it was a bliss riding.As the roads came wider with no traffic et all -we could here the dub,dub,,dub,,,getinn louder. By 9 we were at Shivanasamudra. Here, you could see the Monsoon Magik. I could hear the roar of the Waterfall. It was a spectacular view and worth the ride to get here. Mast Jagah hain-a true Rony comment. Without wasting much time - we wanted to get the real flavor of the guzzing fresh water--unpacked the riding kit and headed straight down to the waterfall.It was a perfect Sunny Day to laze around the Waterfall- above all, more spice to it-was less crowd.We got to the smaller waterfall and jumped in the water.

We negotiated with the local fellas-a Coracle wallah-to a better place near the Waterfall. Wow-when we reached- it was a perfect place to get a close look at the Waterfall and a superb view of the lake. I wouldnt have got a better view than this. Soma and Pooja were out of the coracle to jump in the waterfall.For those-45 minutesin water/waterfall- it looked as if - it was a private place with loads of singing n dancing. It was a treat to the Natural Spa.The 3 jaali's were ready even to pose-whats call'd - the Photo Shoot. Were we tryin to imitate the actual Raavan-he,,he,he. Dont even bother to look at the pics - you would laugh. As more visitors poured in, we were ready to leave to the main Island and head back. Me and Soma were ready to taste some local delicacy-fish n chips.Nah- the chips were missin this time-only river fish.As didi was preparing the barbecue-my mouth started to get the taste of the juicy n spicy fish.We had to trek uphil 15 mnts to get to the top. We settled for a good-Nariyal Paani. Had a wee trouble getin the bikes out of the parking lot,

En route-we spotted a deviation to an old bridge. A superb view of mountains,river and road. Out were our jazzy cameras for 2nd photo shoot en ishthyle. All five us had a good round of photos. We settled for a while to get the fresh air once again and back to our riding gear to hit back to base.On our way back-Manish's air filter gave a lil problem.So, we stopped for a chai cum mech break. We also spotted our Bhai loge- the RD wallahs who were on a 1 day ride,,some 35 bikers. By 3ish, we were once again in traffic and could hear the loud blaring pressure horns. Oh no,,back to the city.
Well, it was worth a short ride covering 280 kms but worth a visit to the falls. We were the highway succers letting loose for a while on and enjoying Sundays far from the city.

Rajiv (Jispa) & Soma(pillion),
Rony & Pooja

Distance: 128 Kms from Bangalore
Highway:As good as you think