It was almost 11PM when I came home after watching Independence Day: Resurgence the friday night. I was tired as a sloth. All I wanted was to sleep. But for me, sleep doesn’t usually knock soon. With my face buried in pillow I started wondering what to do the next morning and I googled for tourist spots around Chennai and the Gingee Fort appeared on my mobile screen. I was somehow roped to it. But before deciding I wanted to make sure if I could make the ride. So, I hit the home button, searched for directions to Gingee Fort from my home (Guduvancherry) and stared at the loading screen. (I didn’t have 3G datapack) As the result came in, it said 130kms. That is all I needed. I decided to start from my home at 7 AM and closed the google maps, set alarm for 6 AM and drifted off to sleep.
The Ride to Gingee:
The next morning I woke up at 6AM at the sound of alarm. I turned off the alarm and glanced at the time. I, then, closed my eyes for a bit and opened my eyes slowly and had a look at the time again. Shit.. It was 8:15 AM already. I cursed myself as I rose in a hurry and started packing my bag and brushing my teeth simultaneously. Within 9 AM I had hit the road in my Apache. I rode for a few minutes and stopped at a gas station and fuelled up for Rs.400 and finished my breakfast nearby. And I was on my way to Gingee with my earphones on by 9:30 AM. The ride wasn’t particularly special. it’s just same old same old long drives. I reached Gingee Fort at 11:30 AM. I did stop a couple of times to photograph along the way. After reaching the fort, I parked my bike and walked to the fort’s entrance. I was blocked by a guard who then asked me to pay Rs.15 as an entry fee. I did and I was on my way.
The first few metres were twists and turns. Then the next few metres were well tented garden park through which you can walk to the actual steps to the fort’s top. I stood below the rocky steps behind the granary and looked at the top and at my watch. It showed 12 PM. I was excited and at the same time scared. I mustered up courage and made sure that I had my water bottle and snickers in my backpack before taking my first step. Not even half way through the climbing I was already a deadbeat and decided to take rest and sat right there on the steps. I took a sip of water from my bottled as I stared at cloudy sky. After a few minutes, I started again, this time longer than I expected. I almost made it to the top. I decided to take rest and crawled up the steps and sat on a flat surface. I gazed down at the farm lands and vehicles on the road as I took a bite of the snicker. I appreciated myself for packing snickers for the trip and drank water to my fullest. After the 10 minute pitstop, I started climbing. After a few steps, I was stopped by a long narrow steps. I looked at the top and couldn’t see anything beyond. I climbed up the steps and I was fascinated to see a wooden bridge with steel side rails connecting the fort. The bridge itself was damaged and the side rails were rusty. Halfway through the bridge and it dangled a little as the wind blew heavy. I quickly crossed the bridge and my next stop was the top of the fort itself. It was almost 1:00 PM when I made it to the top. I was happy for not giving up. Trust me, I would be lying if I say that the thought of quitting didn’t cross my mind. But still, I knew that I would regret later and that kept me going. After reaching the top, I took some pictures and started climbing down. Again, I stopped at the same pitstop and finished another snicker. This time, I didn’t rest long. I started as soon as I finished my snicker. Halfway down the hill it started drizzling. I took shelter under a roof and started playing 8 Ball Pool. The drizzling almost stopped as I witnessed my defeat. Yet, I was happy and started walking with a smile on my face. The floor has now become slippery and my Vans almost got me tripped. From then on the walk wasn’t easy. I had to carefully take my every step and it was frustrating for me. I, then somehow made it back to the bottom at 2:45 PM. After having a quick look at the Granary (for storing paddy/rice and another grains) and Magazine (for storing explosives) I walked back to my bike with a content heart and drove off.
A Twist In The Tale:
As I traced my way back as various thoughts poured into my head and was taken aback when I found another but small hill to my left as I rode. I hit the break hard and I was confused to see another hill so close to the one I just climbed. After talking with one of the local I learned that the hill I just climbed was Rajagiri hill (King’s hill) and the other I just found was Rani hill (Queen’s hill). Now, I was confused whether I should make this climb or not? After giving it a thought and looking at the watch showing 3:15 PM I decided to finish what I started. So, I took a left and parked my bike and paid the same Rs.15 as an entry fee and started climbing Rani hill. Just after few steps some local teens told me not to take the backpack with me as monkeys would likely to attack people with backpacks and handbags. I ignored them. After about 10 steps, a couple with a handbag, who were climbing down warned about the monkeys. Now, I was scared. I went back to the counter where I paid my entry fee and asked the guy if he could hold my back till I come back. He was okay with it and asked me to return back before 4:30 PM as it was their closing time. I agreed and hurried my way back to the top. The Rani hills wasn’t as tough as the Rajagiri but sure had monkeys filled. I rested a while after a considerable distance and soon made it to the top in 20 minutes. The buildings here wasn’t anything special and had a quick took and explored the area. And by 4:15 PM I had climbed down and was collecting my bag from the counter and was on road in no time.
The Ride back home:
As I rode my way back home I realized a couple of things. First, I had to start eating a lot more vegetables which I usually avoid, almost all the time. Second, I should take trips like these as much as possible. I felt refreshed yet drained. I was happy yet my legs were killing me. I felt content thought I spent all the money I had to get myself through to the next salary day. Most of all I realized that life is all about exploring and experiencing new things and not just earning money. After a two hour ride, I was back home, lying on my bed by 6:30 PM.
To sum it all up, it was a worthy ride and as far as I’m concerned I needed it more than anything else that weekend. Even more than the Briyani ;)