To start you off with, I guess I'll have to answer the question:
The answer to this one stems from early hostel memories. I spent almost 7 years of my life in a hostel room and the only escape from this was the annual summer break. The road that took me home back then was the NH5. A specific sign board is still etched out: White in Blue it read out informing how the stretch to my right, led to Kolkata and the one opposite to it to Kanyakumari.
Now I'd say Kolkata was a stretch too far, probably for some time later. But I had to visit this other place and my two wheeler would be my companion on this journey. Except, I did not own a bike till about last year.
But dreams do come true. I set out on finally on the aforementioned date, 18th December 2016.
Here's what I carried with me:
-- A 15inch mac book pro (thanks sis!)
-- A quechua backpack 70liters
-- A wildcraft backpack 50liters
-- A phone and a power bank
The pictures that are about to follow except for the screenshot of the map were all captured on my Canon EOS-70D with 18-135mm, 55-250mm and 50mm prime lens. My standard gear. I borrowed a few batteries to keep the journey captured, so this made for the 4 extra batteries. To keep the 70D company was the Gopro hero4.
So how do you do this? You start the journey the moment your college closes off for the Christmas break.
Start time: 3:45pm towards Chilakaluripet (Home). 320 kms away
I reached my place at around 10pm and started form there the next morning at around 11. Heads up, you should know this about me, I don't prefer driving in the dark. Principles.
11 is pretty late still, this was because of the demonetization hit. I had to go to the bank and withdraw my cash for the trip.
Off to Chennai (400kms) another place to break for the night.
I believe in photographing stories, atleast I capture stories. This one talks to me about the entire farming community than just the man in it. Especially since his back is to the camera. He had just come out of the fields to have his lunch with the others and invited me to join him. He asked whether I had lunch or not. This led to food and discussions before I headed out. The feeling was nostalgic. My grandfather was a farmer. I used to take lunch for him from my home on bicycle and he used to feed me and carry back the box to home.
Nelapattu bird sanctuary, 90kms from Nellore.
The sun was about to set and i'm left with no time to reach this place. Beautiful was an understatement. Never been here before but I'd come back here again. Best roads that I have driven through. Water on both sides and flamingos flying above you. Like I said, understatement.
That night I stayed at my relative's place. Plan for day was to meet couple of my friends working here. This went through peacefully but the night there was filled with thunderstorm and heavy rains. All the trees were falling down on the highway so had to find a shelter. Closest one - Mahindra World City, chengalpattu. Every thing was going according to budget until this point but had to cash out Rs.5200 for a night in holiday inn express. Chose it due to lack of options. Bear with me, this was post 2 hours in the rain cheater and I'm done for the day.
Due to driving in rain and trying to keep me and my bike safe, didn't realise I hurt my left foot's little finger. Realised it in the morning.
Topic continuation-s, next stop- Mahabalipuram 30 more kms from chengalpattu.
Heard and read in many websites about how it feels to drive on ECR. You be the judge:
Reached Pondicherry in an hour, booked a hotel for the next two days. Got to say, I haven't clicked any pictures in Pondicherry because i didn't feel like taking the camera out. This was more of a take-a-walk on the rock beach and doze off place. Maybe someone help me out with what to do in Pondi the next time go.
Place to visit next day: Pitchavaram Mangroove forest
Pondicherry--> pitchavaram: 70kms.
Nah, this photo alone doesn't do much justice, lets have a video to give you an idea of how it looks. Definitely a must visit if you are at Pondy. This space is a two hour drive. Only delays are the checkposts and bad roads.
For Day 6 I decided to give Pondy another try. Yet here we are, no pictures. Don't ask me why? Just roamed around the city and chilled, probably because the next was going to be one hell of a ride.
Day 7: Try and tackle 450 kms
The sun's speed of setting was at it's fastest. My urgency in reaching my destination was even more so. Suddenly something, colourful, flies by my vision. STOP.
It was this:
Let's just say we slow down sometimes in life. I almost rammed into them. Luckily this did not happen. Man! imagining that possibility always slows me down.
Booked a hotel and the plan for the day to come was to catch the day to come. Sunrise at Dhanushkodi.
Reached new Dhanushkodi at 4.30am. A new road was being built between the old and the new Dhanushkodi. The bus operaters present there did not allow me to take my bike on but the locals were commuting on their bikes. They suggest me to get permission from police to take my bike but they were sleeping in their post.
Pff. Nothing's stopping my sunrise view though, so parked my bike and started walking towards the old Dhanushkodi.
When you take a journey it's sometimes not a single journey. It's multiple ones. You learn a thing or two, even before you reach where you intended. Kanyakumari is 350 kms from here. I'll reach around 7pm then and I did.
Finding a hotel here is difficult if you are a solo traveller. Here's something harsh - a lot of people commit suicide in Kanyakumari hotels. So take time and search for a places to stay. Do not approach brokers it will be way too expensive if you are going through one.
Tonight demands some good sleep, early to be awake for the sunrise tomorrow.
Woke up at 4.30am to make sure that i don't miss the sun rise. Even before i reached, there were a lot of people waiting and the place was overly crowded. Not your genuine sunrise atmosphere. I drove around a little find a place that wasn't crawling with folk.
Let me try to show you what my Kanyakumari was. It doesn't have the Vivekanandha rock and other general places. I'll try to throw in some light onto pictures apart from these places. Brace yourself. I really loved these from this tour.
A lot of people from us might have come across this sight in our childhood near tea stalls, village offices: The educated reads the newspaper and the rest of the people around him listen to the news. I was searching for something unconventional to shoot in this place and found this. Happiness. Made me cherish a lot of memories from childhood. Even I used to read the headlines for the people around my home.
So, done with a life time experience and heading back 1500kms.
Will drive 700kms and sleep and complete the trip next day.
10 days, 6000Kms and a life changing trip. Escaped a good couple of accidents even.
It's really about all the chances you get. So taking back some serious life lessons along with these beautiful pictures.
If anyone needs a print or the high quality file for prints, you can contact me.
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