Day 3: 28th Jan 2012
Kanyakumari is the place where many people found peace and had influenced a lot of people (Details of the place available here ), in the morning I headed straight to the beach which is just behind the temple to view the magnificent sunrise, there was a huge crowd who had reached ahead of me , I managed to squeeze in between and anchored myself at a spot, the clouds were playing spoilsport but they made way after sometime allowing me to have a few pics.
After the magnificent sunrise walked towards the temple and here again there was a huge queue to enter the temple, looking at my confused state a person approached me and offered to take me directly to view the shrine bypassing the queue, obviously for a small payment. I accepted the offer, having a good view of the shining diamond nose ring on the idol and seeking blessings, I then Walked out of the temple.
I had heard about the boat ferry which would take me to the island known as Vivekananda rock, upon reaching the ticket counter saw a huge queue which was spilling out to the main road, decided against going on the ferry.
Kanyakumari has a vast beach ,Instead of waiting in a queue to board the ferry I decided to explore the beach, first went towards one end where fish caught fresh from the sea was auctioned, I was surprised at how much the sea can offer without being selfless, having seen the fishy business I then moved on towards few rocks further down the sea far away from the crown, and seated myself for some time to enjoy the view, another person joined this isolate place , we talked for a few minutes and exchanged info, he was travelling the whole of south India from the past few months and had quit a good job back in England to spend time in India.
Wat a catch
|I earned my Breakfast|
After a having enjoyed viewing the beautiful waves splashing against the rocks and the marine life underneath, I Next visited Gandhidham, this is the place where Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were placed before immersing them in the ocean, This magnificent building was built in such a way that on Gandhi’s birthday (02nd October) the sunrays fall on the place where the pot of ashes kept, through the hole on the roof..
Coming out of Gandhidham, I again moved to another part of the beach, this was supposed to be the place where all 3 huge water bodies meet, I was happy that I was standing at the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, I forgot the whole world for a few minutes while standing at the beach viewing the confluence of the three water-bodies – The Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Took a dip at this confluence but came out with few injuries courtesy a few careless people who had chosen to drink and break those bottles which scraped my naked feet.
The confluence of Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal
It was afternoon and the heat was on, the market around the temple premises and the beach selling sea shell products were winding up to re-open in the evening.
One for your home
Even I decided to wind up and end my visit to Kanyakumari and headed towards the hotel to check out.
It was around 12.00 when I headed towards Nagercoil, around 15 kms visited Suchindram (one of the few temples where prayers are offered for Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma) temple but the main temple was closed and I took a small walk around the corridors.
The huge chariot parked outside Suchindram temple.
And started towards Trivandrum, initially had planned to reach Allepey or Kollam Beach to wind up, but owing to the bad roads, the crazy traffic and the afternoon heat I decided on a much nearer place – Varkala Beach, this was around 145 kms from Kanyakumari.
At 4.30 checked in at Lazy Panzy , headed directly to the beach for a dip and to cool of my sore butt, Varkala has good beach shacks along the cliff with a beautiful view of the sea, they offer different cuisine. I had to now enjoy the view and settled myself at one of the shacks, watching the sunset sitting at the beach sipping iced tea and gorging on food, what else you can ask.
Sunset at Varkala
I realized I had not had proper food since the day I started that was almost 3 days. The last three days were almost like a pilgrimage, this evening was different no temples only the beach for me.
At the Beach if you want people to notice you order a sizzler and look at heads turning J, having filled my stomach on a delicious meal and washing it down with varieties of tea, I headed towards the hotel and sank into dreamland.
As on Day three I had covered 1200 kms.
Day 4: 29th Jan 2012
After having a relaxed evening and a good sleep , freshened up and headed again to the beach, met a couple from Italy who were retired teachers enjoying their hard earned money, and another guy who organizes bike trips from Varkala to Goa :-)
Kerala- Gods own Country
It was now time to take leave from this place I call paradise, I checked out from the hotel and talked to a friend who was supposed to meet me in Cheppad which is a place on the way to Allepey from Varkala, however he informed he was delayed and would reach his home only in the evening, Nevertheless, I thought I will meet his parents and meet him once he is back in Bangalore.
From here I had two options either head home directly via Salem which would be a continuous 700 km ride or enter Bangalore via Bandipur, I chose the next one.
After Varkala, headed out towards Allepey Via Kollam, it was around 9.30 in the morning , my friend had asked me to call him once I reached Cheppad, he would then direct me to his house which is just next to the highway I would be travelling. Once I reached Cheppad I called him and to my surprise I was standing just opposite to his house, here I met his parents and after a short break continued my ride towards Allepey, Refueled near Allepey, post which the roads were pretty good, bar few stretches I cruised along 120 easily owing to the double lanes and crossed Kochi and then reached Thrissur at around 3.00 pm. I had already covered 250 kms, from here I thought of entering Bandipur via Gudalar instead of Sulthan Bathery, After Shoranur which is en route to Gudalur I came across traffic blockade at two places due to a procession that was moving on the narrow roads. I used this opportunity to take pics of the elephants and few artists dressed as gods from the Indian Mythology who were accompanying the procession.
Beautiful and Royal
I have to admit Kerala heat was taking its toll on me and I decided to ride as much as I can and halt when I get tired, few places on the way tempted me to call it a day, but I pushed along until I reached the Ghat road which marked the entry to Gudalar, it was 7.30 pm, the moon was shining behind the hills, the cool breeze, the twist and turns of the Ghat road made my tiredness vanish in a jiffy. I reached Mudhumali wildlife sanctuary check post at 8.30, Entry to Mudhumalai/Bandipur is closed for traffic from 9.00 pm to 6.00 am, unfortunately the guards at the check post bordering Mudhumalai wildlife sanctuary told me they do not allow bikes after 6 .00 pm citing safety reason as wild elephants would be crossing the roads, This being the only route now to reach Bangalore via Mysore and no other option I traced back around 5 kms and found a place in Gudalar to halt for the night.
As on the fourth day I had travelled around 1620 kms.
Day 5: 30th Jan 2012
Weather in Gudalar was chilly and my laziness was catching up with me, but I was already late and behind my schedule due to the unexpected stoppage at Mudhumalai Forest, Checked out from the hotel at 7 00 am , it was bit dark even at 7 in the morning , the sun was a bit lazy and was behind his time. When I happened to start the bike I came across the first sign of trouble, the Battery was down maybe owing to the cold, but a few minutes of waiting bought back the bike to life, thanking my lucky star I moved on towards Bandipur, the ride through the forest early in the morning cannot be expressed, I compared it with the concrete jungle and traffic back in Bangalore-chaotic.
Sunrise at Gudalur
I saw at least 10-15 peacocks , one was in the middle of the road with its feathers out as a fan, by the time I fished out my camera, he had folded up, but he did console me by posing. I also happened to sight the great Malabar giant squirrel, but by the time I could get a good pic, another vehicle came from the opposite end and the driver told me there are wild elephants just round the corner, I couldn’t risk standing there, I made a move, but there is a pic of the elephant I got hold of. Riding further ahead I reached the Mudhumalai sanctuary Range office, there was a Safari vehicle about to take tourists for a drive thru the sanctuary, I parked my bike next to Range office and grabbing a ticket hopped on to sanctuary vehicle, the 40 minute drive was a disappointment as I couldn’t find any animal or bird, except a few langurs monkeying around.
Pee(acoc)k – a-Boo
Cursing my fate for not citing a single wildlife and for wasting money I exited from the forest range office. But riding further I was compensated for the money as I got to see few wild boars, deer and the sanctuary elephants , while this happened I did not realize I was almost out of the forest area and had reached the exit :-(
That was a stare:-;
Wild Boars at the Sanctuary
A few kilometers away from Bandipur and a deviation to the right is Himavad_Gopalaswamy_Betta , I had heard of birds and wildlife being cited here and took a turn, At the crossing a person in uniform whom I came to know is one of the forest guards asked me to drop him till the temple, normally I do not offer lifts to unknown people but owing to the uniform and the Id card he was carrying I contemplated, during the ride he gave me a disappointing news, the forest range officer has completely banned photography ,except at the temple on the hilltop , I was tempted to break the rules, but refrained from doing that as he was quite serious, he did tell me they have been seeing a tiger every evening at 6.00 near the hills and I had to get a permission from the Forest Office to camp there, and this permission is provided only for those who are doing a research on wildlife L.
After taking a deviation from the highway towards GS Betta, a few kms ahead is a forest check post ,the forest guards gave me a time stamped ticket and allowed 90 of minutes of time to travel 5 kms to reach the temple, visit and be back, since photography was not allowed I completed the visit and ride in 30 minutes.
Disappointed again at the events happening I moved ahead towards Bangalore Via Mysore, Few kms ahead is Nanjangud, the temple here famous for Shiva and today being Monday an auspicious day to visit Shiva temple, I turned my ride towards the temple, I had to wait for half an hour at the railway crossing, he was indeed testing my patience, there were many other devotees who happened to visit the temple today like me and formed a huge crowd. More details of the temple is here , after a quick Darshan and few pics moved on towards Mysore, As I was habituated to skipping cities and moving on the Bye-pass roads, I did the same in Mysore – which took me through the city outskirts, bad, dusty, incomplete roads, I should have travelled within the city which might have been more comfortable.
Nanjangud Temple Entrance
It was noon and not feeling good about the pathetic roads, I did not know if there was more to come. while leaving Bandipur I had actually planned to visit Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary but being tired I skipped and headed towards Maddur to celebrate the trip conclusion, parked the bike at Café Coffee Day and started getting drunk on Cold Coffee, I have a few nostalgic moments of this place, I reminisced them and clicking the last few pics of the trip headed home..
All I want is Coffee
Even though being a Monday afternoon, the highway traffic was chaotic, after enjoying roads which were empty s far as your eyes can see, riding through this bumper to bumper traffic was no less then hell .
However, as all good things come to end so did my trip.
Concluded one amazing, refreshing, exciting, fabulous trip by reaching home at 3.30 pm while clocking 1920 kms.
Cruising at 120 - Electronic City To Salem, Madurai By-Pass , ECR (East Coast Road), Allepey to Kochi
Rameshwaram to Danushkodi: Bliss – one Straight Road with Sea on either side
Watching a train on Pamban Bridge with the Arabian Sea at the backdrop
Late night Twisty at Gudalur:
Sunset at Varkala
Celebrate the Trip by getting drunk on Cold Coffee at CCD, madur
Recuperate a sore butt after the trip.
Driving thru village roads- and get blinded by small insects in the evening when they hit your helmet visor.