Bangalore - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal - Mysore - Bangalore (2011)


A school friend of mine (Sudhi), who also happened to be a travel photo-grapher with a media house rang me up and asked me if I was up-to a ride to kanyakumari. That's all it took for us to hit the road on a weekend. The plan was to ride out in the evening from Blr on a friday.

Photo of Bangalore - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal - Mysore - Bangalore (2011) 1/3 by shishir gowda

The progress was slow, but un-event full till we passed Krishnagiri. Just as the sun started setting in, Sudhi's RE began to act up. The light started fluctuating, and as any self-respecting RE owner would do, quick fixes were attempted all along the way. This got use few km closer to the ghats, when the light truly went bust. We stopped @ a petrol bunk, and as luck would have it, a local truck mechanic turned up to get some fuel. We waited for his return @ the hotel next to the bunk. After un-successful attempts, the mechanic wanted the bike @ his place few km's down hill. Luckily the bullet had its parking lights on, and with my ever reliable avenger providing light for both we reached the shop. The wait for the mechanic, who was mid-way repairing a truck was painful to say the least. But this provided me a window of opportunity to grab some sleep on the chair he had provided, while Sudhi was wide awake hoping to get the bike fixed. Dinner time came and went, and our hope was now to at-least have breakfast @ Kanyakumari. Close to mid-night the mechanic triumphed in fixing the lights, and we began our ride, me refreshed after some decent sleep, and Sudhi all drowsy.

Photo of Bangalore - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal - Mysore - Bangalore (2011) 2/3 by shishir gowda

As we were destined, the lights after burning bright for few minutes, decided to fade away completely. So, the target was to reach Salem and have it fixed by RE service guys. 2 bikes with 1 head lamp in the night on a deserted highway was no joke. The exhaustion made us stop @ a bus shelter around 2am, and I again caught some sleep, while Sudhi played watch man. We reached Salem before dawn broke, and it took us some time to find the RE shop. A call to the owner of the showroom (number of shop sign) around 9am was what fixed the problem. The service manager got in touch with us, had our bike looked into on priority, and gave us the waiting room. The only sad part, my avenger was not allowed inside the compound. As you might have guessed, I again slept till noon, when we finally got the bike. A burnt alternator was the cause of all the pain.

After thanking the hosts for such a quick and good job, we started riding, till we stopped for lunch. I hogged, as I was hungry, while Sudhi skipped the meal. The ride after that was one of the most painful I've ever undertaken. Under the sultry burning sun, I was cooking under the riding jacket. This was my first ride with a armoured protective jacket (a gift from the Sudhi), and was it painful!! We suddenly realized to our horror that we were hallucinating which made us almost crash. To our pleasant surprise, we saw a CCD which was for real and stopped. Sad part, no AC, but they had these fans with huge blades. The guys working there allowed us to stay on till the sun went down, and finally Sudhi caught up on lost sleep.

We started riding around 5pm, and once we neared Kanyakumari, the sight on the windmill farms was spectacular. After a marathon 28hrs, we reached our hotel. The following morning, we visited some local places, and to my surprise had one of the best punjabi thali's ever. This is where we parted ways. Sudhi had photography assignments to complete, and then ride to Rameshwaram, while I had to head back to BLR for work.

Photo of Bangalore - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal - Mysore - Bangalore (2011) 3/3 by shishir gowda
Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by shishir gowda
Photo of Bangalore - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal - Mysore - Bangalore (2011) by shishir gowda

I started early as usual, and made brisk progress till Madurai, and planned to stop @ a ghar dhaba on the out-skirts on Madurai. I was glad to by-pass madurai, and was looking forward to the break when the fuel ran out. I was dumb-founded, as the fuel ran out close to 100km before the usual range. Cursing the adulterated fuel, I started pushing the bike (riding gear, bike laden with luggage). Luckily had to push just ~2km to the bunk, where after a short break, I realized @ the current pace, I would reach Blr before dark. I recalled having seen a deviation to Kodai, so Kodai it was. Took the left to Kodai few km up the high-way and was cruising till I realized I was lost. A few help with directions, was back on the road. The climb was decent quick, so stopped @ Kodai for lunch.

That is when I heard 3 guys on 2 bikes speaking kannada, and out of curiosity asked where they were headed to. Mysore, was their answer, and they were starting right then after fuelling up. Again the choice was simple, and I decided to ride with them to Mysore. So got back on the bike, and we decided to ride toward pallani -> Sathyamangala -> Chamarajanagar -> Mysore. The Pallani route had some amazing curves and hairpin bends, devoid of any traffic. After a heavy lunch @ Pallani we reached Sathy when it was dark, and convinced the forest gaurds we were not fooling around, and riding to Mysore. He believed our story and let us through, while others were denied to ride in the night, as the ghats are tricky with 29 hairpin curves, and possibility of encountering wild life. The climb was amazing, and surprisingly the traffic coming down-hill were patient enough to let the climbers through. We reached Chamarajanagar and grabbed some food @ a dhaba, and began our ride to Mysore.

The roads were pathetic, ridden with pot-holes, and the narrow roads were scary to say the least. Blinded by the on-coming vehicles lights, we took almost 4 hrs to reach Mysore. My parents were surprised to see me @ the door step in the middle of the night. Grabbed some sleep and rode to Bangalore the next morning to work.

This blog was originally published on 'On the road to nowhere'

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