The Bike, Me and the Road= = = = = = Freedom, Peace, Nirvana
The trip was waiting to happen from the time I read about Danushkodi the Ghost town and the distance from Bangalore , the trip materialized on 26th Jan2012, it was never planned for a solo ride but time and circumstances decide.
The best part is I forgot what I did on the trip, except the road, the bike and me I don’t remember much, but will recollect and pen them or shall I say Key them
There were various reasons for me to go on a long ride- be it for a break from the daily routine, relaxation, being on my own, peace, re-check my endurance, seek nirvana.
Whatever the reason may be I did enjoy the trip and waiting for another to happen, let me now take you for a trip down memory lane.
Vehicle: Pulsar 220
Fuel: 55 lts
Route: Bangalore-Sri Rangam-Madurai-Rameshwaram-Danushkodi-Kanyakumari-Varkala-Cheppad-Thirssur-Gudlar-Masinagudi-Gopalswamy Betta-Nanjangud-Madur-Bangalore
Day one:26th Jan 2012
Bangalore-Electronic City-Hosur-Krishangiri-Dharmapuri-Salem-Namakkal-musiri-Srirangam-Tirchy-Madurai-Ramanathapuram-Mandapam-Pambam-Rameshwaram (680 kms)
Once I had confirmed the trip I was confused whether the ride would be on the Avenger or the Pulsar, the doubts were cleared when I took the Avenger for a short ride to meet my wife and son on the weekend.
Having injured my delts, courtesy my dogs giving a pull while chasing, I was not able to hang on the handle bar of the Avenger and also Pulsar having tubeless tyres the choice was made.
The last two days the bike had gone thru a complete check up by my local mechanic and a change of brake pads at the Bajaj Service centre, tanked up the previous evening as I had planned to leave as early as possible and avoid the holiday traffic.
Woke up early morning at 3.00 , was bit excited about the trip and had not slept well the whole night , Checked the bike, carried minimum luggage, camera ,phone, took adieu from mom, who was bit concerned but couldn’t do much to stop a crazy son.
Nothing was going to stop now, I took the electronic city toll it was 4.30 by the time I reached the toll booth, from here the road was pretty good and with less traffic I cruised along 130 , couldn’t do less or else I would disrespect the good road, the sun gave a warm welcome near Dharmapuri, continued along and reached Salem around 8.00 am , there were few cars who accompanied me till Salem, few smiled when our paths crossed, reached Namakkal this is where I had to take a detour to SriRangam the first halt of my trip which is at a distance of 85 kms form Namakkal, the roads here turned a little bad, gave a few stops in between to check on the route , I was now travelling along the river Cauvery and being next the river , agriculture was thriving and the scenery was pleasant with greenery. Reached SriRangam at 9.30 a.m., it was almost 6 hours since I left Bangalore and had covered around 350 kms.
Massive Gopuram confirmed my arrival at SriRangam. Here I visited the famous Sri Ranganathaswamy temple, 26th being the Republic day there was a huge crowd and had to wait for Darshan, feel ashamed to say but money talks everywhere , even in temples ,took a special Darshan ticket which ensured a faster entry and exit , will not waste much time by going thru the details, the link here will provide more information about the temple .
Spent around two hours taking few snaps and headed towards Madurai at 12.30 pm.
|Massive and colorful Gopuram at SriRangam|
|Pheasant tailed Jacana – En route to Madurai|
|My ride – En route to Madurai|
Fueled up at the Bye-pass, the road from Sri Rangam to Madurai was beautiful, well maintained and made me think the ride was worth, en route stopped for few photo sessions.
Reached Madurai at 1.30 , famous for Meenakshi Temple, details and info about the temple is available here , here I came to know the temple opens only after 4.00 pm , thought will make use of the time and went for a stroll around the massive structures, the local market, and chatted up with an interesting person named Balu, he has a tea shop near the temple premises, he is around 50+ is a bachelor and an astrologer and is keen on studying further , he wants to be more techno savvy and is now trying his hand at computers.
I prepared myself for the Darshan owing to the huge crowd waiting to enter the temple, after having Darshan of the goddess, visited the hall of 1000 pillars I was marveled at the designs and architecture. It was now time to move on to the next destination – Rameshwaram. It was 5.45 in the evening and I had covered 500 kms before heading towards Rameshwaram.
Madurai to Rameshwaram is around 175 kms, it was already getting dark and I intended to cover much distance during the enough day light, few stretches were good and few were bad , Near a place Ramnad few young guys with new bikes criss crossed me and taunted me for a race, I thought of giving them a run for their money and beat them which I could have easily done, but being sane I realized how far I was from home and the trip ahead, any unfortunate incident at this time would spoil my whole trip and decided to ignore them , they did accompany me till the outskirts and seeing no response from me they backed off. I crossed Pamban Bridge and did not realize I was near the ocean and was heading towards an island, Reached Rameshwaram at 9.00 pm and checked into a hotel near the temple for a good rest.
I had covered 680 kms in a day, around 180 kms more than my previous solo rides. This brings an end to Day one of my ride.
|Do I See a sleeping monster?|
|One of the huge temple tower-Madurai|
|Love the colors|
|An interesting person- Balu - Owns a Tea shop in Madurai, an astrologer, bachelor ,impeccable English, tech savvy|
|Main Temple Tower-Madurai|
|An Artisan at work-Madurai|
|Gods for sale- you can take home any|
Market – opposite Madurai Temple -->
|These guards never retire or get tired|
|Ready for a pounding|
|This is painted on the ceiling inside the temple and appears to face you whichever way you turn|
Corridor inside Madurai Temple
Hall of 1000 pillars -->
|Designs on record and display|
Day 2: 27th Jan 2012
Rameshwaram is known for the famous Ramanathaswamy temple – details of the place and temple is available Here , I had set an early alarm on my mobile to get up early and have a view of the sunrise, woke up at 5.00 am and headed straight to the beach to have a dip in the sea(The beach of Rameshwaram is famous for its beautiful sea featured with no waves at all) , back home getting up at 5 in the morning is quite unthinkable and on top of that and having a bath in cold water is unimaginable ..Brrrrrr.
Post this I engaged a person to pour water from the 22 wells which is within the temple premises (The temple comprises twenty two wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other) after the bath and drying up visited the shrine and visited the beach to watch the sunrise.
Ramanathaswamy Temple Entrance
All are welcome
Wall hangings made of sea shells
The next destination was Danushkodi, I was pretty excited to visit this Ghost town, the thought of riding along a road with sea on both sides, and what else do you want.
Danushkodi is at around 20 kms from Rameshwaram town, more details of this place at this link - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhanushkodi , this is one straight road with almost no traffic, and riding on this road alongside the sea on either side is nothing less than bliss.
Once the tarred road ends you have reached Danushkodi, to go further to visit the actual ghost town you need to engage a jeep to take you there, except sand there is no proper road, I tried biking for around two kms but found it impossible as the bike got stuck at number of places in the sand.
This is how you travel to the heart of Danushkodi
Me at Danushkodi beach
Got on top of one of the jeep that was ferrying people and landed at the ghost town in 30 minutes, there were only a few fishermen and tourists that could be seen here. Accompanying them were the dilapidated buildings and few shops selling souvenirs.
Remains of the church which was destroyed in the 1964 cyclone
Packing dried Fish
Fishing in knee deep sea
There is a small hut here where they have displayed the floating stone that was used to construct the bridge, coaxing did not help in taking a pic of the stone , the stone is something like a huge coral that floats in water.
Material used to build the church – it resembles the floating stone
One thing I observed here are the birds ( Brahminy kite, Bee eater ) which seem to be a bit bigger in size compared to the ones I have seen at other places.
Happened to see a couple of Peacocks but by the time I could fish out my camera they scurried behind the huge bushes never to be seen again.
With a huge heart I rode back again to Rameshwaram town, checked out of the hotel and left the city heading towards Pamban Bridge which connects the Island. This is one spectacular construction on the sea with a rail track. After a short photo session headed my bike towards Kanyakumari at around 2 pm, Kanyakumari is at a distance of 250 kms from Rameshwaram the odometer now showed I had travelled 716 kms.
Boats at Pamban
Another view of a train crossing the bridge
The afternoon heat was draining me out , the road I was now travelling is known as ECR (East coast road) which is pretty good with salt farms at few places , once I reached Tuticorn(Thoothukudi)I refueled and here I made a mistake of taking a route alongside the coast instead of travelling towards Tirunelveli, a mistake which made me go through narrow bad roads and reached late and tired at Kanyakumari, the time was around 10 pm, during this stretch every few kms I would be blinded by the small insects which would hit the helmet visor and when I brush them from the visor they would leave a sticky residue which made the visor opaque , I had to clean up before I could continue, this one goes into the bad incidents of the trip.
At Kanyakumari Checked in at a hotel after great difficulty, finding a place to stay for a single person was a huge task here. At last a good guy told me to check in as two people and take a double bed room, and stay alone, money talk’s dude L
Once in I refreshed and took a long break dreaming of the next day.
Day two I had covered a total of 960 kms.
The Ride Continues........
The Ride Continues........