Sunday, January 28, 2018

Day 4: Biking round trip to Pollachi - Valparai – Atirapally – Ooty – Bandipura – BR Hills – Bengaluru

Chilled morning woke up early. Finished the packing and decided to leave the YHAI Hostel at the earliest. We decided to take trail through Bandipura – BR Hills – Kollegala & Kanakapura. Indeed, the day will be long ride, we worried about the horrible traffic.

Finished the checkout process and had hot tea nearby hostel. Ooty is about woke-up relaxed Sunday morning, we exit through Kallaty hairpin bend curve trail. On the we had some photography.

The traffic was high, driving on signal road was bit tough, soon we crossed the Masinagudi and entered Madumalai Tiger Reserve forest.

Trail is not new to us, many times we had been this place during CATT event. Again, we were not unlucky, not even single wild animal sighted.

Decided to take a breakfast at Bandipura canteen. Always a good stop to have breakfast at this place. Finished our breakfast with yummy food, continued our journey towards Biligiri Rangana Betta [BR Hills]. Trail is known to us, two years back we had been this wonderful trail.

In search of Big Cat (Tiger) in the BR Hills Tiger Reservice forest continued our journey. I love this trail since the traffic is NIL. Very rarely ply the vehicles in this route. Un-luck followed us, reached the Kyata Gudi [K Gudi].

Needed some relax moments at this wonderful nature. We recalled our previous Hero Honda Splendor BR Hills ride.

Journey is continued towards Bengaluru. The sun was itching badly, humidity increased more. Taking couple of short breaks hit the Kanakapura busy road. It was like racing road, vehicles density increased. 

Our pilots were riding like a race, reached Namma Bengaluru around 5 pm. Adieu Santosh at NICE road to meet sometime again.

Memorable four days long journey of biking ended with golden memories.

Highlights – Day 4
Distance Covered: 310 KMs
Places Covered: Kallaty Hairpin Bend Curve, Madumalai Tiger Reserve Forest, Bandipura, BR Hills

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Day 3: Biking round trip to Pollachi - Valparai – Atirapally – Ooty – Bandipura – BR Hills – Bengaluru

The morning was very pleasant; mist was covered the valley, chilled weather made us to stay back little more time. We wanted to leave early and check the luck to see the wildlife. Forest range is just 5 KMs away from our stay. We come to know that, forest check-post keep open between 6 am to 6 pm.

Intentionally delayed to get sky bright, finished morning hot tea nearby hotel and continued our journey towards Athirapally falls. 

After couple of miles, we stopped by forest official at check-post. Finished the formalities of entry; they give us a pass which mentioned the entry time and exit timelines of two hours.

Our journey continued in the dense forest. The roads are lonely except bird whisper; every 10 meters elephant dung across the journey; beautiful valley glance view in between; there was countless photography all the way. 

Believe me, you won’t get any civilization evidence almost 30+ KMs. It is heaven for nature and wildlife lovers.

We reached the Thottapura view point of Sholayar reservoir. Again, we disappointed for not sighting any wild animals, it’s all depends on luck. Spending some good time, we realized, running short of time to cross the forest trail within stipulated two hours’ time bond.

Not stopping anywhere, reached the check-post. The trail gives you thrilling adventurous journey. Handed over the entry pass to forest officials, the journey is continued towards Athirapally Falls.

Reached the entrance gate around 9.30 am. The place was more crowded; ticket counter kept very far from the entrance, paid Rs.30/- entry fees. Had light breakfast near the gate before venturing the waterfalls.

Since long weekend, the place was more crowded. Water level in the falls is less, however it will not disappoint you to get a glorious glance of the falls. Spent sometimes and continued our journey towards Palakkad.

We were on-time as per our schedule; reached soon Chalakudy. Filled the petrol our bikes; stopped couple of minutes to discuss about further journey. Unanimously decided to take a deviation towards Ooty and stay for the third day.

Soon we hit the busy National Highway of Trivendrum – Salem. Traffic was too much; humidity was increasing gradually; stomach was hungry. We skipped morning breakfast and decided to give a stop near Palakkad. We saw A2B sign board about 3 KMs; decided to give a stop. We filled the delicious lunch.

The journey become boring to ride on the National Highway. Again, wanted to take a break, near Coimbatore toll, stopped for sometimes.

Now the Ooty accommodation planning was running in mind. Sudhakar suggested to call YHAI Hostel and enquire about the stay. We had been at Hostel during our Ooty Bike trip. Googled the number, called the person. We were so lucky; accommodation is booked in Hostel.

Taking multiple short breaks, reached the Mettupalyam. The town was more crowded. The Nilgiri hills are visible from the town. Just continued our journey. I think traffic Jam is universal problem, just struck in very bad location. 

Railway crossing, road work, narrow road made huge traffic. It was miles together. Two-wheeler little lucky to make a space and escape from it. By great difficulty, managed to exit from the traffic.

Journey was not so easy after escaping from the Mettupalyam, the Ooty ghat road is more crowded. Adventurous curve road journey was challenging one in the dark. The atmosphere become more chilled. Skilled rider managed to reach Ooty by 7.15 pm.

YHAI staff welcomed us with smile, the guy was same whom I spoke over phone. Finished the check-in formalities and dumped our luggage. Lucky time was with us; entire hostel was empty.

The chilled weather not allowed us to get refresh by cold water; stomach was hungry; casual walk went around Ooty town in search of dinner. Guys did shopping of chocolate and cloths. Finished the dinner and back to Hostel. We were not in mood to sleep early, again played the Card, adieu for the day around 11 pm.

Highlights Day – 3

Rode around 325 KMs

Places Covered: Tea Estates, Vazhachal Wildlife Sanctuary, Thottapura View Point, Sholyar backwater, Athirapally Falls

Friday, January 26, 2018

Day 2: Biking round trip to Pollachi - Valparai – Athirapally – Ooty – Bandipura – BR Hills – Bengaluru

Day - 2 Journey

Considering the trail, we all assumed that the 2nd day ride will be short and scenic. We got refreshed and get ready to venture on road. Finished early morning coffee with hot VADE nearby hotel, journey is continued towards Valparai.

Within few kilometer, reached the Aliyar Water Reservoir. It is very close to the city. Initially we thought to skip the location, the scenic view attracted us. Parked the vehicle, paid Rs.10/- entry fees, entered the premises.

The Aliyar Dam is built in very scenic place. It is surrounded by beautiful valley. Water level was less but it will not disappoint you by its beauty. One must visit this wonderful place on the way to Valparai.

We spent some good time on photography, relaxed for a while. There are couple of hotels opposite to the entrance gate of Dam. We thought to fill again with breakfast. Heavy breakfast made us comfort to push little more time for lunch.

Santosh mentioned about Vethatri Ashram, which is very close to Aliyar Dam. It also called as “Arivu Thirukovil”. We decided to visit this ashram. It is just on the highway of Valparai.

Paid Rs.50/- entrance fees and ventured the Ashram. Got to know that, they offer various meditation course for individual and corporate. The Ashram is in very decent place, covered by hills. We did some good photography inside the Ashram premises.

After visit to Ashram, the journey is continued towards Valparai. Popular Valparai 40 Nos. hairpin bend curves are visible from Aliyar Dam. Authority collect and issue the receipt for Rs.30/- per person. Finished the formalities continued our journey.

The ride is really amazing; slowly it takes you upper side. Road was busy with tourist vehicles; people were stopping and enjoying the valley. Alyar Dam backwater panorama view is amazing.

We also did not like to miss an opportunity; had interesting photography. There was no satisfaction to anyone, the mobile shutter was clicking and clicking.

After couple of curves, entered the top of the hill, relaxed for sometimes near check-post. Now the Annamalai Tiger Reserve Territory started. Against we were not lucky, not cited anything.

Now the landscape completely got changed, everywhere TEA estate. The road passes through beautiful estates. We totally confused where to stop for photography!!! There was endless joy to see the panorama. Pictures can speak more than my words.

We about to reach Valparai, it was just 6 KMs away. Noticed Sholyar Dam deviation board, which showing 15 KMs. Decided to visit the dam before Valparai. Descent curve trail took us close to the Dam. It was not attracted much compare to Aliyar. Spent some good time and headed back to Valparai.

Again, we have to comeback 15KMs of the deviation point to reach Valparai. We are feeling hungry badly, reached the Valparai around 3 pm. Not sure about getting the lunch at this time, local personnel guided “Sri Lakshmi Chettinadu” hotel. It is in the centre of the town, very close to bus stand.

The Valparai was crowded, very easily found the Lakshmi hotel. Hope we were the last batch of the lunch hour. The food was very tasty, filled our stomach.

Now the time to head towards Kerala border and find some decent place for night camp. Here is the surprise!!!!! Till the time I have not seen the google map. The Kerala border is pointing the same trail of Sholyar Dam. We did some extra KM ride.

Not worrying much, headed back to Sholyar Dam. Again we stopped for relaxation. The Kerala border is just 5 KMs away from the Dam. We had enough of time to retire for the day. Taking small breaks, photography crossed the Tamil Nadu and entered Kerala.

Our eyes got open little widely to locate some decent economy stay. After enquiring a guy, suggested us to ride further two KMs to find the homestay. After couple of meters, found a mini hotel at MALAKKAPPARA. Decided to take a break and continue to explore the stay.

The mini hotel is run by an old lady, ordered the tea. Meanwhile asked her about availability of any stay around this tiny village. She immediately called to her next home and enquired about availability. Initially we felt unlucky; owner said, ‘It is already booked over a phone; supposed to report by 3pm; give me sometime so that I can confirm you’.

Time was good, pre-booked guys did not turn back, offered the room. It is very decent on the roadside of Valparai – Athirapally way with two rooms. Easily can accommodate around 8 people. The location of the small village is really awesome. We not bothered to bargain much, occupied the homestay, dumped our luggage.

Joseph, the homestay proprietor suggested beautiful sunset point. The sunset point is just half a KM from our stay. After refreshment, headed towards viewpoint. 

The valley was looking so beautiful. Entire valley is filled with TEA. We had lot of fun during sunset, spent more time on different photography. 

Home-stay served hot delicious dinner, retired for the day after playing the CARD game.

Day -2 Highlights

Rode around 145 KMs

Covered Places: Aliyar Dam, Vethatri Ashram, Valparai 40 hairpin bend curves, Annamalai Tiger Reserve Forest, Valparai, Sholyar Dam