1701 kilometers - 1 killer ride
Just when I think I've seen enough of South India; Mother Nature slaps me in my face and shows me something extraordinary, something breathtaking, something like this !!!!!. Just one look at the picture and you will understand what I mean.
ZROYA RIDES TO THE ENDS OF TERRA FIRMA.
"Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show" - True to the core. Experiences are for a lifetime and there are a few people who believe in telling real life experiences to their grand kids than say "All I've done is just work my entire life". These people also believe in Prophet Muhammad's saying - "Don't tel me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled"; and boy !!! am I glad to be one of them.
Mother Nature never ceases to surprise us. Be it it's perfect combination of beauty and exhilaration or absolute nothingness, she always have showed us the same love unconditionally.
In case if you are wondering how long is 1701 kilometers??, well here's a clue. If I would have started from Kanyakumari and headed north towards Kargil, I would have ended up half way (Kargil to Kanyakumari = 3996 kilometers) and if that isn't apt, 1701 kilometers is most people's monthly commute (68 kms per day for 25 days).
3:30 am - I pull up my socks and crank Zroya up. National highway - an absolute pleasure to ride on. The roads are so darn great, it gives formula one tracks a run for it's money. Somewhere along the way, I get greeted by the almighty sun and before it got too hot, I plan to exit Madurai and head towards Rameshwaram.
I reach Madurai by 10 am. It feels hectic. Ask anyone in Madurai regarding the traffic rules; you probably would get a stink eye. Call it ridiculousness or pandemonium, riding here is literally chaotic.
No, I'm not a "BAKTH" material, but I never let down an opportunity to head to a temple. Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple which attracts 15000 visitors per day and 25000 visitors on Fridays, attracted me too. Being there on an auspicious day, I find myself in the middle of probably 30000 people. I hustle. But then, its all worth it.
After shoving my face (literally) in typical south Indian food; I just roll the dice and keep heading south towards Rameshwaram. A few miles from Rameshwaram, the stench of the fish hits me like a sledge hammer; but in a good way. If you are a "Grass Eater" like me who likes sea food (*wink*), you can always ask the locals to fry you some local speciality.
A few pictures with the kids. I sit down to watch the sunset (sunrises and sunsets are the best sights ever). Later, I head down south.
Remember the first girl/boy who made your heart skip a beat ??. Well, this is a similar experience. The Majestic Pamban Bridge (The Most Dangerous Sea Bridge in India) stands elegantly as a Prom Queen. It's really amazing that she's 101 years old but still has the charm of a teenager. I just stand for ages, astonished, looking at the mesmerizing structure; and then, this happens. A train comes by.
An hour or so later, I check into my hotel and just hit the sack.
People seldom appreciate the charm and beauty of an empty space. Places that were left to the gods or old structures given up to the changes of the climate assume a splendor all of their own, drawing on the organic aesthetics of wines and weathered storms.
Its 1 am - I just can't sleep; I ride for 10 kilometers to meet up with my new found love "The Pamban". The place is absolutely deserted at night. Its just me and her. I look at her with no words to say or hear. I guess I have fallen for her and her gorgeousness. To top it off, the wind caress my face as I admire her without blinking. Silence. And just when I am about to leave, a train comes by. The sight of the train at night, in such a location seems incredible. How often do you get to see this sight ??.
I ride back.
The temple of Ramanathaswamy has always amazed me. I'm not much of a believer, (I only believe in nature) but this place has 22 wells situated inside the temple. The water from each well differs, the taste differs and the color differs. Places like these still prove that nothing is impossible for GOD.
9 am - I take the blessings of Lord Ramanathaswamy and find myself on the road which heads towards Dhanushkodi A.K.A "The Ghost Town". Not a single soul on the roads. At the end, I find Dhanushkodi can only be reached either by jeep or a mini bus through the backwaters of the sea.
Call it an abandoned wonderland or sprawling place of nothing, Dhanushkodi is a place where you can lose yourself in the serene bliss of nothingness.
The ghost town on pamban island is famous for it's Ramayana connection. Two cyclones reduced the town to what it is today - A Shadow. And yet, this is one place that will haunt your memories.
On my way back, I find this road. A road built on the backwaters of the sea. I think you will just understand why this happens to be one of the most memorable points in my trip.
I have to catch a train to ride on the Pamban Bridge, scheduled for 11:50 am. Reaching Rameshwaram from Dhanushkodi only happens at 2 pm. I feel terrible. Tears literally roll down my eyes to have missed the train; the very feel of riding on the tracks is breathtaking (I know it because I had done it before). Well, I guess sometimes the world doesn't play by our rules.
I missed the train, I can't afford to miss to pay a visit to House of Kalam. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (The Missile Man of India) is the one person who has my absolute respect. A look at his house, and you see how simple of a man he was. No words for him, only RESPECT.
An hour and a half later I am back at The Pamban. The sea is so blue and so clean, see what I mean ??.
The fact of having missed the train haunts me. I have to be on those tracks no matter what. So what do I do ??. I get crazy enough to do this.
U see the guy wearing a white T shirt, blue shorts and looking like Osama bin Laden's 7th cousin ??. Well, that's me. Being on the tracks is on a whole different level. What if a train comes ??. What if I fell into the sea ??. The adrenaline inside my body pumps like Rocket Fuel. But then, while people are taking pictures of me on the bridge, I stand there taking a selfie (*smirk*). I just feel closer to Mother Nature now. The feeling is ecstatic - way better than traveling by train. It simply is an unforgettable experience and if I have to coin a word for it; its aptly Awesomeness Epicness = Awesomepicness.
And, here you go !!!!. A little glimpse of Pamban in close proximity.