This was my "first" motorcycle expedition that lasted beyond a week. No bullet then, it was a Honda Shine 125cc motorcycle.
I had traveled to many places in Karnataka and Kerala, yet I had never been through my home state of Tamil Nadu. I decided to ride through all the places that I have never visited.
Day 1 - October 20, 2013
I flagged off my journey on the 20th October 2013 towards Chidambaram from Bangalore. It was a rainy afternoon and I had packed my bags and laptop. I planned to reach chidambaram by night and left bangalore at around 2:30 PM. The distance was going to be about 370 kms, i thought, as I took a longer route, instead of traveling via Tiruvannamalai.
As I crossed Salem and reached Attur, the roads were good and I had made good progress. About 25 kms after Attur, I deviated onto the road that leads to Virudhachalam, at koot road junction. Just as I entered the Virudhachalam road, it started to rain. Braving the cold and the lashing rain, I decided to continue past Virudhachalam. The road until Chidambaram was very clean, unlike my previous encounters. I found a hotel and settled down at 10:30 PM with some beer.
Distance Travelled - 390 kmsRoute Taken- Bangalore - Salem - Virudhachalam - Chidambaram
Day 2 - October 21, 2013
I had some work at the Annamalai University that day. I decided to get my "provisional certificate" that day and then begin my journey. Meanwhile, all my clothes had gone wet in the previous days rain. By the time I reached the hotel in the evening after finishing my work at the university, it was already 5:30 PM.
I packed my luggage and began the journey towards Tranquebar (Tharangambadi), about 70 kms away. The road towards Tharangambadi was pretty narrow. As it was getting dark, riding became difficult as the headlight wasn't too powerful. I finally managed to reach Tharangambadi by 9PM. The only hotel was the tamil nadu hotel to stay at. I had food at the Neemrana hotel opposite this place.
Distance Travelled - 70 kmsRoute Taken- Chidambaram - TharangambadiDay 3 - October 22, 2013
I had plans to visit the Danish fort, which was barely 100 metres away from the hotel. Had nice breakfast, and took a stroll into the 400 year old fort. The fort was by the coast. Spent an hour going around the fort and clicking a few pictures.
Around 1PM, it was time to leave. I headed towards Vedaranyam via Karaikal Nagapattinam and Vedanthangal. The route was a little rough, yet I managed to reach Vedaranyam by 5 in the evening. sleepy little town, and nothing to explore except for the bird sanctuary. The time I travelled, there was nothing to see. It was time to go to Pattukkottai. I reached Pattukkottai at 8PM and found a small dingy lodge to settle down.Distance Travelled - 120 kmsRoute Taken- Tharangambadi - Karaikal - Nagapattinam - Vedanthangal - Vedaranyam - PattukkottaiDay 4 - October 23, 2013
The day after, I was heading towards Karaikudi and enroute, decided to stop to visit the Thirumayam fort enroute to Karaikudi via Pudukkottai. After visiting the fort, I deviated to Kanadukathan to visit the chettinad palace. The palace was dilapidated and no one was allowed to view the interiors of the palace.
I found a hotel at Karaikudi and settled down for the day.
Distance Travelled - 120 kmsRoute Taken- Tharangambadi - Karaikal - Nagapattinam - Vedanthangal - Vedaranyam - PattukkottaiDay 5 - October 24, 2013
I went to the 1000 windows palace (aayiram jannal maaligai) but wasn't allowed to view it from inside. I decided to head to Ramanathapuram via Aranthangi. I had lunch on the outskirts of Aranthangi and headed towards the coast road.
After lunch, I got a little confused with the route towards Kattumavadi and was roaming around the village near Attani. I reached Kattumavadi and continued to ride towards Ramanathapuram, along the East Coast Road (ECR). I stopped by at an NGO and met a few children before continuing my journey.
I reached Ramanathapuram at around 7:30 PM and settled down for the day.
Distance Travelled - 160 kmsRoute Taken- Karaikudi- Aranthangi- Kattumavadi - Pasipattinam- Thondi - Devipattinam - Ramanathapuram
Day 6 - October 25, 2013
I had to go to Tuticorin on this day, so I decided to go towards Dhanushkodi and left as early as 7 in the morning. Rameshwaram Dhanushkodi was merely 50 kms away. As I began riding towards Rameshwaram, I had a small scary feeling within me. I was riding to the "end" of the road and beyond that is sea.
I stopped to click some pictures at where the road ends near Dhanishkodi. There were some maxi cab vans that drove into the sea to where some remains of the "real" dhanushkodi existed. I couldn't avail one as it was pretty early, around 8 AM and there weren't many people.
I headed back to Ramanathapuram, spent some time at the hotel and left the town after lunch. It was time to go towards Tuticorin, another coastal town, about 230 kms away.
I continued along the small highway and reached Tuticorin by evening. Time to settle down and have some beer.
Distance Travelled - 330 kmsRoute Taken- Ramanathapuram - Dhanushkodi - Ramanathapuram - Tuticorin
Day 7 - October 26, 2013
I was supposed to travel to Kanyakumari by the coast. Enroute, I stopped at the Tiruchendur Murugan Temple and then continued my journey. It was about 11 AM when visit to the temple was over. From Tiruchendur to Kanyakumari was about 85 kms . The road was pretty small and there weren't many vehicles.
I reached Kanyakumari by noon. It was time to settle for the day and visit some places nearby. Vattakottai fort, by the sea shore was a treat to be at. After visiting the fort, I headed back to the hotel and took some rest.
Distance Travelled - 130 kmsRoute Taken- Tuticorin - Tiruchendur - Kanyakumari
Day 8 - October 27, 2013
Before leaving Kanyakumari, I woke up at 5 AM to see the sunrise at the southern tip of Kanyakumari. What a wonderful view. There is a myth that any wish made when looking at the sunrise becomes true.
After the sunrise, I began my journey towards Udayagiri fort, 30 kms away. A couple of hours at the fort and spending some time, it was time to visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace, another 3 kms away. The Padmanabhapuram palace was a treat to the eyes. The architecture of the building was priceless, a 400 year old palace.
A couple of hours at the palace and the next place was the Mathur Hanging Bridge. Searching for the bridge took a lot of time. By the time I reached, it was pretty late in the evening. I decided to visit the Tirparappu Water falls. It was already 7PM and I found a small hotel and settled down for the day.
Distance Travelled - 50 kmsRoute Taken- kanyakumari - Nagercoil - Tirparappu Falls
Day 9 - October 28, 2013
I began the day pretty early as I had to visit the Chitharal Jain Temple, which was about 20 kms away. It took about 30 minutes to reach Chitharal. At 7:45AM, I was the only one at the place and a spooky feeling went down me. I quickly took a stroll around the place and left by around 9 AM.
As I bid adieu to Nagercoil, I headed towards Tirunelveli via Boothapandi (friend Geo named me Boothapandi). I stopped here to take a quick pick of the signboard and continued towards Ambasamudram. At Ambasamudram, I took a ride upto the Manimuthar waterfalls, only to know that, heading towards Manjolai wasn't allowed by private vehicles.
I rode down to Ambasamudram town and asked for permission at the Forest Rangers Office. Permission was denied, yet I had a good conversation with the officials and headed towards Upper Karaiyar Dam. The ride via papanasam towards Upper Karaiyar Dam was nothing less than a remote forest on the Western Ghats.
Sighting issues with monkeys troubling the luggage on the bag, I decided to leave the place as quickly as possible. I headed towards Vasudevanallur to visit the old palace at Nelkattumseval, Vasudevanallur town. The place was very dilapidated and it was time to head towards Kovilpatti to settle down for the day.
Distance Travelled - 309 kmsRoute Taken- Thirparappu Falls - Chitharal - Ambasamudram - Upper Karaiyar Dam - Vasudevanallur - Kovilpatti
Day 10 - October 29, 2013
I left Kovilpatti the next day towards Megamalai, via Sivakasi. The road until Sivakasi was good. After Sivakasi, towards Batlagundu was on and off, good and not so good. As I reached Chinnamanur, it was almost 3:30 PM. I signed the book at the forest check post and rode up towards Megamalai.
The road was terrible and took 2 hours to reach the Government Guest House. A long and hard day riding, it was time to settle down for the day.
Distance Travelled - 250 kmsRoute Taken- Kovilpatti - Sivakasi - Andipatti - Batlagundu - Theni - Chinnamanur - Megalamai
Day 11 - October 30, 2013
The journey had almost come to an end, with me being on the last day of the tour and planning to head towards Coimbatore from Megamalai. I took a small walk around the dam. Megamalai is surrounded by 7 Dams and the view was amazing. I stopped at the hotel nearby to have breakfast and met a school teacher from the government high school.
We had a small pep talk at the bakery and I got to know that he taught Maths at the school. As we were talking, we got to know that the regular bus had broken down. The teacher wanted to go down towards Theni town as he was suffering from Asthma and was finding it difficult to breathe.
I agreed to take him down hill as I prepared to leave the place. We left at around 8:30 AM and it took us 3 hours to reach Bodi, where he wanted to go. I bid adieu to him and headed towards Coimbatore, which was a long way and the route was tough due to heavy traffic. I managed to reach coimbatore by 6 PM and settle down for the day.
Distance Travelled - 300 kmsRoute Taken- Megamalai - Bodi - Batlagundu - Dharapuram - Coimbatore
Day 12 - October 31, 2013
The weekend was spent well with family as Diwali was around the corner.
Distance Travelled - 70 kmsRoute Taken- Tharangambadi - Karaikal - Nagapattinam - Vedanthangal - Vedaranyam - Pattukkottai
November 3, 2013
Shiva and I headed back to Bangalore via Dhimbam.