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Thread: A leisurely 3 day ride from Chennai to Valparai - Athirapally - Kochi

  1. #11
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    Dec 2014
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    Default Re: A leisurely 3 day ride from Chennai to Valparai - Athirapally - Kochi

    Day 2:

    Had a deep good sleep the other night. When I'm on a vacation, I usually don't settle for a long nap. So, I woke up around 6 am to the sound of the birds. I simply love the sound of bird chirping in the morning. It was a pleasant morning and I have this habit of wandering around the place in the morning to breath some fresh air. The temperature was around 15 degree Celsius and I thought may be I should go for a quick jogging. Since the place I stayed had roads ascending all over, I took my bike to find a flat track where I can jog without any painstaking efforts It is entirely different when you ride your bike with the short trousers. The chill wind was blowing underneath my trousers and knew that I made a mistake of wearing the short trouser. I couldn't continue further riding as it was freezing and I had to stop for a quick tea break. At the tea shop, asked for the directions and the places I can visit nearby. I kept reiterating to people whomever I met for suggestions that I'll be on my way to Athirapally falls and then to Kochi. So that I don't get stuck anywhere in between. The tea shop owner told me to first visit Nirar Dam which was nearby and then to visit Anamalai Peak and Nallamudi Poonchalai. He also informed me that I don't have to return back to Valparai to proceed towards Sholayar Dam and Athirapally.

    I didn't have much time to go for a jog. So, I decided to return back to the room, pack my bags, take a shower and then to start with day 2. Checked with the receptionist about the same and he made an affirmative nod. Called my parents and informed them that I may not call them frequently as I'll be traveling in the forest roads and I may not get proper signal. No matter what I say, my dad said "No issues, just call us every once in 2 hours". That's how a typical father is Had a good shower and loaded my beast. Stopped at a Kerala Cafe and had some Puri's and appam. Started to ride towards the Nirar Dam.

    I can cover places only that's en route Athirapally. Sholayar Dam is the only place that comes in the same route. Nirar dam is towards Chincona route and Nallamudi and Anamalai is towards Karamalai. Nirar Dam is less than 12 Kms from Valparai. So, that ain't gonna cost much time. Kept riding towards Nirar and environment was completely pleasant. The road was good until a certain point. There's a check post few kms before Nirar Dam and the entry fee is 30 bucks. I'm the only soul driving towards the dam. I was tired driving in the beautifully laid tarmac roads both in the highways and Ghat roads. So, that 10 km stretch towards Nirar was a whole new experience as the road was full of stones and sand all over. It had patches everywhere. I absolutely loved riding on that surface as it give me a whole new feeling. I can't describe it any better. It's like how you feel when your body is suddenly exposed to sun after your skin is abused by severe cold. That's how it was. I literally enjoyed this off road experience. Reached the Nirar Dam and there was no one except me in that spot. Took few photographs and left that place. Also, there was not much water flowing through.

    Using the same route came all the way back few kms before Valparai and took the left to reach Anamalai. All I saw was tea plantations all over on all four sides. There was no traffic. The road was very narrow, still a TNSTC bus can travel. Beware of buses, whenever required, don't forget to honk. Bus drivers normally don't have the tendency to signal or honk in the curves. I ended up twice moving off the road as I had to pave way for the buses coming from the opposite direction. The road was all good up to Anamalai. As I reached the entrance, I spotted few forest officials and they told me that entry is denied to the view point due to elephants intrusion. I was waiting there for a while to see If I can get a glimpse of the elephants but I couldn't see any. When I asked the officials how could they monitor the elephants, they told that there are plenty of CCTV's that are fitted through out the forest. They don't have any fences as the elephants will get trapped and injured. Had an organic lemon tea at the entrance, I should accept that this is by far the best lemon tea I've ever had in my life. The forest guards were surprised once again to know that I came all the way from Chennai. I'm actually getting used to it

    I asked them which would be the best route to reach Sholayar. Many told that I need to go back to Valparai and catch another route, But few advised me to take the route via mudis and then to proceed towards Sholayar. So, I took their advise. Took the route via mudis and kept riding towards Sholayar dam. The road became narrow once again and the tea plantation sites started to disappear out of sight as I kept riding. I was getting closer to Sholayar Dam and was stopped by the Forest Officer just before entering the other side of Sholayar Dam. I was still inside the TN boundary. Just some formal questions and I answered most of it. The official was shocked to hear that I'm coming from Chennai and would be riding up to Kochi and then to Trivandrum. He said that he rides about 18 Kms a day and he feels completely exhausted and how am I enduring such rides? I replied that I would face the same situation when I ride within the city but now I'm on a vacation, there's a difference. The forest official spotted few bullets which came from Kerala and the young lads had all their gears except their helmets. I was allowed to proceed further but those boys were asked to stop their vehicles and the officer would have spent some time in giving them a free advise. I still don't consider them as harrasment.

    My kind request to all my fellow bikers, "Please be polite to the forest officers or the cops and answer their questions patiently. Don't show any signs of disrespect and you will end up ruining your plans. Have all the necessary documents and don't forget to wear your helmets".

    Reached the Sholayar Dam and took some pictures. Kept ascending further to get a good glimpse of the Sholayar lake but unfortunately, I couldn't. Hence, satisfied with the pictures taken I rode on towards Athirapally. Reached the check post of Sholayar forest, this time in Kerala. The officers asked me to step inside the room and then fill all the information about my vehicle. They were courteous enough to answer all my questions regarding the route to Kochi. Took a picture of the check post and the officer politely asked me to delete it as the photos are restricted. I agreed and immediately obliged them. They smiled and told it's alright. I was given the entry ticket for Athirapally and the board displayed 58 Kms and they've mentioned that the exit should be within 2 hours.

    To be honest, I've never been to such a place before. That 58 Km strecth from Sholayar to Athirapally was a blessing in disguise. It was truly maginificent. I was riding on the ghat roads but was not exposed to the outer space for the most part and it just appeared as if I was driving inside a jungle due to thick density of trees . There was no vehicular movement in the entire stretch. I hardly encountered a vehicle or two at an interval of 15 minutes or so. I could hear all the noises at the background. The flow of water, monkey's chatter, Squirrels squeak and so on! For the first time in my in life, I felt I was somewhere far far away from the civilization and the only usual thing that I heard was my beast's thump!. I was in no mood to halt and just to continue riding with this nature. Spotted few tree houses along the forest road and I presume that's where the forest guards rest. Took me an hour and 15 minutes to complete this stretch and reached Athirapally Check post. Showed my pass that was provided to me at Sholayar range.

    I was all excited to see how majestic the waterfall is. Many told me in advance that I need not be excited as the monsoon in Kerala was not effective this time and the view will not be pleasing. Parked my bike at the lot. You must see the condition of the parking lot. You need to ride steep to park your vehicle. The government has not taken any steps to renovate the parking space. The cars would come in contact with the other vehicle parked. I'm suspicious that they haven't taken any steps to improve the parking lot as it will reduce the inflow of tourists. It was 1 PM and the temperature had soared past 30 again. I did not have the time to remove all my gears. So, I kept walking towards the waterafall. It was heavily crowded at that time. I could see hundreds of tourists flocking the place within few minutes. Reached the spot and took some pictures and I could sense that the flow isn't that great as it used to be. Few boys rounded up a foreign couple and asked them to pose for a pic. They weren't harassing the couple but still it was visible that the couple felt uncomfortable. Reached towards the boys and told them not to disturb the couple as they may feel offended. One guy told that he was just asking directions and we are just posing for a pic. "Don't worry that girl is like a sister to us", he said. But, I knew very well that it was just in words as their eyes were having a different perspective. Anyhow, the couple left the place without any issues. Had to climb all the way back to the entrance and I was totally dehydrated. I was once again soaked in sweat and couldn't breath properly. Took a break at the canteen. Had a fruit juice and then walked towards the parking lot.

    The monkeys at the parking lot has ripped almost all the bags that were kept nearby. But I'm lucky enough as my bag was untouched. It took me sometime to realize that it didn't touch my bag as there was a couple sitting nearby for a very long time and that's the reason my bag is all safe. Yes, we always need people like them that would do us favours in most cases.

    Haven't had my lunch and it was way past 2 but still I wanted to reach Kochi as early as possible and then I can eat. The road was all good and I could spot plenty of bullets in that route. That's a lot than usual. Salutes were exchanged when I met the riders on the other side. It's an awesome feeling when you are greeted by another rider from a different state! That we call a BROTHERHOOD!. Reached Angamaly and I noticed the strange noise from chain yet again. I'm back to the place where I actually traveled most of my journey. Yes, it is the NH-544 highway. I need to head straight towards Kochi and that's all I needed. Found a Car repair shop nearby and asked him whether he can tighten the chain. He said yes and had this work done within few minutes. Also sprayed the lube oil in the chain. He was reluctant to get the money from me until I ride for some distance and ensure everything is good. So, I rode and confirmed that it's all good. He charged me just 20 bucks. I paid another 100 in addition to what was performed in Palladam. That difference was still huge and I thanked him and rode on.

    I've never been to Kochi before and I thought, it's going to be a small city. It could be small in terms of area, however in terms of development it is way ahead. The road that I took from Angamaly and upto Lulu mall signal it was the same. Of course, you would see some sort of green vegetation in between. 20+ floors apartments are a common sight in the city. The traffic density was too high. May be that could be because of the peak hour traffic. Despite the traffic, what I liked the most about Kochi is the TRAFFIC SENSE! Almost every motorist adhered to the traffic rules. Even if there's no cop at the signal, they don't tend to jump the signal when it's red. When there's a red in Chennai, I need to make sure that there's no MTC bus behind me, only then I can come for a halt. After driving at the congested cities of Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, I personally felt the rules are well abided in Kochi. The only thing the city lacks would be flyovers. Post Lulu Mall, it took me close to an hour to reach my place at Panampilly Nagar. At every signal, I spent around 3-4 minutes on an average. Hence, it would be much better if they come up with more interchanges and flyovers.

    Reached the hotel and my reservation was confirmed. I was about to proceed towards Allepey and Trivandrum the next day. Unfortunately, I received an urgent call that I had to be back in Chennai on Sunday! Not a serious problem but I should be present. Called my friend and told him that I can't come tomorrow as planned and I felt very sorry about that. He too booked his ticket the next minute to Chennai after coming to know my situation. There was a strange noise from my tummy and I know that I need to feed him. Went to a hotel nearby and had Chappati, fish curry and kadala curry. It was really yummy and I didn't like the fish though.I decided to travel back to Chennai the next morning. I still have an evening to spend at Kochi. It was the December 23rd and I for the last 2 months remembered the date as "Dangal"s release. Wanted to catch this movie up at a nearby mall. To my surprise, all the shows were sold out in all the multiplexes that screened Dangal. Hence, I need to let go of that plan.

    My ex colleague Sujeesh was also working in Kochi and it's been a while since I met him. Pinged him up and he immediately responded me. He told that his work place is nearby and he will join me. Met him and had a nice chat since it's been almost a year that we last met. He's basically from Palakkad and asked me to visit his place tomorrow. Since I was running out of time, I couldn't go ahead with that and told him that may be I can join him next time. He was a bit upset though. The place was hot and I needed a repellent due to mosquito nuisance. My friend left the place and I had my dinner and went to bed as I need to head back to Chennai.

    Crashed into bed at 11 PM.

    Time for pictures:

    Towards Nirar Dam

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    Nirar Dam

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    A Tea Factory

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    Sholayar Lake

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    The Great Sholayar Dam

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    Took only the pics and memories as the board displayed

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    Man he just loves to pose all the time

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    Road on the left goes to Nirar and towards Anamalai

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    Another view of Sholayar Lake

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    He feels that he has conquered something

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    Bridge before Sholayar Dam, a famous shooting spot

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    Sholayar - Athirapally forest road

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    Athirapally Falls from the Road

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    A Closer look

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    Quick highlights for the day:

    Starting Point: Valparai

    Destination: Kochi

    Total Distance: 210 Kms

    Fuel Expense: NIL
    Last edited by vivekiways; 12-30-2016 at 02:25 PM.
    shiv4747 and prowayne like this.

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