If Kerala is God’s own Country, then Munnar surely is where God spends his vacations.. The Love affair continues.. The Machine and The Couple ride to God’s own Country this time..
I wouldn’t say this is where it all started… Rather it all started on an Hero Honda Splendor about 16yrs ago when I started riding my 1st Motorcycle (6th standard to be precise).. People say You get Blood Sugar and other Diseases as a part of your heredity to which I surely agree, however we forget to mention one more quality which comes from your Heredity and that is riding and touring on motorcycles.. And Sure I did get this quality along with other heredity issues.. My father as always has been an inspiration to me for this madness… And I do miss those rides with Dad.. Thank You again Dad..
Coming Back to the Travelogue…
First and the most important issue is I am not so good at Travelogue writing, So please pardon my mistakes.. Just a newbie at this.. Trying to learn the art of sharing experience so any kind of suggestions, feel free to have your inputs..
1st Of July 2am.. At office, Just finished a client call.. Checked my phone around 11 missed calls from Pooja(wife)… My 1st impression was something really bad happened as this never happened before.. So called her back immediately and the conversation Follow:-
Trying to call her and her number is not reachable, You know this is the worst feeling ever, When you try to reach someone urgently the call never goes through. Finally its connected now
Her: Sagar, Munnar!!!!
Her: Arey Lets ride to Munnar, I heard Munnar is at its very best at Monsoon..
This was a shock for me as for all the rides till date I was the one to plan and look for destinations.. But this was something which was completely new to me, didn’t know how to react as I was so itching for a ride but didn’t inform her yet…
Me: Are you Sure? Tabyat to thik hai na tumhara?
Her: Sagar Just plan I am ready for it..
Me: Ok. Let me get the route check and booking finalized. Let me Know when you reach home I will also start from office..
This is where Munnar started… I was personally not excited at first as I had a big reason behind it, Munnar is a destination which I had planned 3 times in last 3yrs and all 3 times it got cancelled for some or the other reason.. But little did I knew that this time its going to be one heck of a experience
Last but not the least my Optimus Prime..
Me and Pooja are couple riders.. rode many places till date and call ourselves as THE MACHINE AND THE COUPLE…
My Journey for a ride Starts the night, as I can never sleep the night before the ride.. Its been so many years now riding but still that excitement level never goes down… So as usual not even 1hr of sleep on the night before this ride as well..
Saddles packed… waiting for 4am now…
CHENNAI TO MUNNAR 608kms
Its 5am and Still we didn’t start and usual we are late by an hour. Finally Started by 5:30am Sharp.
Off we Go… Bon Voyage to us…
As usual road conditions as soon as you cross Chennai is not upto the mark for around 70 odd kms for NH45. Everything was fine until we crossed the Chengalpattu Toll Gate, but as soon as we crossed the Toll Gate after around 1km something happened which shook as both.. I was at about 120 to 125kmph and suddenly a group of Crows passes exactly infront of us and we hit the last 2 of them.. One in my hand and the other one on Pooja’s face. This what happens when you dont have the helmet Visor closed (Lesson Learnt I Hope)… I was in a state of shock and immediately stopped the bike at a road side tea shop.. Got down just to see her cheek was completely red because of the crow hit.. By now I could also feel the pain, even tough I was wearing a proper touring gloves but my fingers became numb because of the impact.. Now comes the scariest part.. I am sure everyone here knows that in our Hindu and especially a Bengali family Crow is termed is the most Unlucky animal. And forget about that wen I saw Pooja she was completely in a shock.. Took a break for 15mins.. washed our faces. Now asked her if we return home or not as we came only around 50kms and can easily return back. I am sure 99% of wife’s would have answered yes lets go back home however not in my case I am so lucky to have a wife who is so much like me in terms of riding and travelling, happy to have a like minded wife.. So we continue… Around 8am we stopped at Ulundurpet (A2B) for breakfast.. Best Dosa’s as usual in Tamil Nadu you will get here… Time to hit the road again… NH45 is my Favorite road to ride on.. One of the best roads in our country…
Guys when are riding on these roads please be aware that these roads has long bushes and trees on both sides and thankfully we Indians have no road sense or as a matter of fact disciplines at all.. I faced another situation here were a man with his cattle suddenly turns up from no where between the log bushes and at the middle of your road and I was at around 140+ kmph.. So please be very much attentive when riding on high speeds especially when you have villages beside the roads..
By 11am we reached at Trichy… We took the road Via Dindigul – Theni.. Weather was super good.
Stopped by Theni to have lunch, now the problem in some parts of Tamil Nadu is you wont get non-veg everywhere… So had to settled down for Veg meals.. To my surprise veg-meals were super delicious specially with Aplam(pappad in Tamil)… Spoke to the restaurant owner about road conditions and direction to Munnar and he was more than helpful with the same..
From Munthal stared the much awaited hill climbing.. Wonderful roads I must say very well maintained.. after around 25 30kms of climbing near Pulikute I had to stop the bike because of cross winds.. I had been though the Trichy Crosswinds many times but this was worst and wind speed was very high… If one can imagine the worst part it being Hills with no borders at the ghat roads.. And the wind was making it worst.. but guess was I was enjoying the moment.. This was different.. Something I had never experienced crosswinds with such speed that to on hills…
We took a break for around 30mins and didn’t want to leave the place… Finally after much pushes by pooja we started back…. We reached Cardamom Estate which it the border for Tamil Nadu and Kerela at around 2:30… And the view started becoming from best to better…. As soon as we reached near Munnar Tea gardens we were welcomed by this :-
That feeling of hometown came back.. Was simply mesmerizing…
We reached Munnar by 4pm, now comes the worst part of the trip finding our Resort… Swiss County Munnar… This resort is around 15kms from the town towards Kochi Road.. Gmaps was showing a way which had no roads at all worst then off roading. And I really was in no mood to go through that route as I had suffered just a few months back on my Siliguri ride via Jamshedpur and Ranchi roads… That was horrific.. And didn’t want to go through the same pain again.. We called up the resort 5 to 6 times and no one picks up the call.. Asked local people autowala and others and no one had a clue about resort..
Please note Make My Trip had a rating of 4.8 for this resort out of 5
Finally one such knowledgeable autowala knew the way and guided me to the resort… He said its in Chithirapuram Powerhouse Road around 5kms from the town you need to take a left. There is only one and huge problem with the people of Munnar. Guys 3kms is 3kms not 15 kms.. whom soever I asked about the place they guided me in a nice way however that left after 3kms never came.. it only came after 15kms… Finally we reached the resort.. I was very angry with the resort manager, however to my surprise he was a gem of a guy and helped me in lot of ways… And the service and the rooms were also awesome.. Loved my stay at Swiss County Munnar.. Deserving 4.8 stars I should say…..
Swiss County Resort – Munnar Town – Top Station – Mattupetty Dam – Carmelagiri Elephant Park – Cardamom Estate – Swiss County Resort 150kms Covered
Day 2 we planned to visiting places nearby and mostly Sightseeing and I should mention our resort manager here who helped me with directions and places to visit.. One thing about Kerala is people are very nice spoken and kind there.. So we had our delicious breakfast served by the hotel Staff as a complementary package with our stay… Right before we start I took out my camera out of the bag to click some pictures of the wonderful scenery from our room just to find out that the memory card for the camera was missing. I was so irritated with myself.. How can I forget to keep the memory chip when I checked everything before the ride.. ….
So now the first and most important thing was to look for a shop to purchase memory card. And to my relief there was only one shop which had the big SD cards available at entire Munnar town.. So now everything is settled and we start for our first destination Top Station..
Off we roll..
Now the roads at Kerala are very very well maintained and awesome corners but only problem roads are very small in size.. Very Very Small indeed…. But a person like me who loves cornering won’t be able to resist those wonderfully maintained corners.. And specially if you own a corner beast like RC390.. The Best thing about touring on an RC is cornering…. RC being a track bike is made in such a way that your will love to get your keens down automatically when u see a corner.. so as usual me in full track mode on hills, little did I knew about the road sense and reckless driving of bus drivers at Kerala.. The Only Con in Kerala would be Road sense of people there and reckless or very rash driving… I have heard about bus drivers of Kerala and how rash they drive but always thought how bad it can be if you stay at a City like Chennai, where the your have 2 buses connected together and the driver has no idea very the rear end of the bus is going.. TO my surprise after this trip I found Chennai drivers to be far better the Kerala Bus drivers.. (only disadvantage or threatening problem at Kerala).. So people riding to Kerala specially for the first time please be aware and attentive while riding along the State.. One mistake can cause a major and fatal mishap.. I faced one such situation, was doing proper cornering and also honing at each and suddenly I see a big KSTC bus in font if me in full speed without any kind of horns or indication.. I had no options, if I take right I would directly hit the front of the bus and left it was an open ghat and little bit of mistake would mean all 3 of us would have fallen on ghats.. This is where you shouldn’t panic and put all your years experience to work and react in split of seconds.. And that’s exactly what I did.. I used the pump braking technique and somehow managed to stop just a few inches from the ghats… This is why I love riding an RC,, one of the best ABS functionalities this bike has… I simply love the brakes and here it came to my rescue again… And guess what instead of me shouting at the bus driver, the driver and conductor started shouting as if I had done a big mistake coming in front of there bus.. I thought better not to ruin the mood and ignored them and carried now.. reached the Top station by 11:30.. Little did I know that Top Station was not a part of Kerala and it was a part of our very own….
Just when I was about to start back from Top Station, I find this great rider on bullet 500 classic wearing an A* jacket and I quote again “Alpine Star Jacket”however with no helmets on riding with a pillion and neither of them had helmets… I thought of stopping them an asking are the really riders if yes then where are the helmets, Do they belong to some group.. However thought to ignore them as these days everyone and anyone are becoming professional riders.. only if you have a riding jacket and a DSLR or a fake go pro you are a rider doesn’t matter if you wear a helmet or not, as helmets are not a necessity for them.. I really feel pity on such people…
Going back to the places to Visit now came Mattupetty Dam.. A very beautiful and scenic dam I must say. This is where Pooja wanted to go for boating.. Now all boats here are peddle boats so I had warned her before hand that it requires a lot of effort and energy to peddle these boats but Pooja as being her didn’t listen.. One might say unlucky or fate that we got a boat which had a steering however it stopped working at the middle of the water and we were completely stuck. Before going for boating I spoke to this boatwala’s and they informed me just last week there was an incident where a tourist fell from the boat while taking selfies.. And now here we were in the middle of the water with the boat not working and neither of us know how to swim.. Trust me a person who doesn’t know to swim one of the scariest part.. Somehow we were towed to the shore by locals… And probably this would be her last peddle boat ride of life.. ….
Some pictures of the dam….
We started back towards Munnar and the time was around 2:30pm.. While on the way to Munnar we found an Elephant camp… To my knowledge I had heard that Elephant safari’s were banned in India but here I was proved to be wrong.. There was a 15mins Elephant Safari available for tourist on this camps.. And guess what we went for it…
Some Pictures from the Elephant Camp and Safari.
Started back for Munnar. We reached the town by evening 4 and both of us were terribly hungry.. We reached a restaurant and asked for the Menu however the waiter said “sir 70% of the items on the Menu was not available”… So i asked him what all do you have available… the 1st thing came out of his mouth was Beef Biriyani … Now please note here before coming to any kind of conclusions.. I don’t have Beef its a personal choice and I don’t force anyone not to have it as well, its a Democratic country and everyone has a freedom or right of there own and I am no one to stop that certainly means that I have the same right, so my only request here would be not to make this an issue here.. Only reason I mentioned this here is because there are many like me who doesn’t have beef so for them only one suggestion at Munnar or Kerala before ordering food please make sure you check with the waiter if you are not comfortable with beef.. Nothing more than that I would say… So I had to come out of the restaurant.. Finally after a long hunt we found a Jain and punjabi food stall and had punjabi lunch and to my surprise it was delicious.. After having lunch we had one last destination to cover at Munnar that was the Tea Estates and Gardens.. So I had seen a Tea Garden while coming down on Day 1 and had that in mind… So reached the point and it was so beautiful and the view was mindbogglingly.
Some Pictures from the Tea Garden..
We started for our Hotel back only to find this wonderful weather and clouds back..
Ending Day 2 with some Masala Chai and Pakora best food for this wonderful weather..
Day 3 –
Munnar to Athirappilly Water Falls – 126kms
Day three was more of a irritating day then a day to enjoy at first… Thanks to the BJP strike which was called a night at 11pm.. Little did we knew about the strike and we started off to our next destination the beautiful Athirappilly waterfalls.. Yes the same place where the famous movie Bahubali was shot with actor Prabhas holding the Shiva Linga… We had a few stops for breakfast and small but beautiful waterfall…
So was super excited for this place had heard a lot about the same and saw some awesome pictures of the same… Mind you we had no idea about the strike till we reached Athirappilly.. I wanted to refuel and stopped at a petrol bunk, then is when I come to know that today is a 12hrs BJP strike and I wont get petrol anywhere in Kerala till 6pm.. I was like what rubbish!!!! Normally at our places we get petrol at normal road side shops as well when there is a strike or something… However much to my surprise I had totally forgot that this is a different state and at Kerala people don’t sell petrol at normal shops… So I checked the fuel indicator and it showed me 2points are still left..
Now here is the catch, people who have RC390 would know, the only worst thing about touring with and RC or as a matter of fact any track bike is the fuel tank capacity.. My Optimus only has a capacity of 8ltrs.. And this is always a pain for me and moreover I get an awesome mileage of 15kms per ltr……… So I knew where this was heading to and exactly I knew that the fuel indicator was a big lie… So I didn’t want to inform Pooja about the same and scare her, instead went for the Athirappilly Falls…
Some Pictures from Athirappilly Falls…
Now the climb to Athirappilly was very very tiring and we both were totally exhausted and adding to the cream on the cake it started raining.. By the time we came out of the falls it was already 12 noon.. So now the biggest challenge is to find petrol.. So I had to make a bit of change on the plan.. Checked the gmaps and found that Valparai was around 80kms from Athirappilly and it was on Tamil Nadu and I was pretty sure in between I can manage some fuel from normal road side shops..
However I was entirely wrong, just after around 15km the low fuel indicator started to glow and we were in dense forest and nothing nearby… This is when you need to decide and tell you Pillion. Now one thing is for sure, my wife gives very good suggestions.. So we decided to head back to Athirappilly, look for some lodge and stay there for the night.. This made me very irritated and disgusted as I had planned to stay at Masinagudi for the day… With no other options left somehow we reached back. Thanks to make my trip that we got a very good resort (Riverok Villas).. Now this resort was just beside the river and a perfect view…
Frankly speaking this changed my entire mood from irritated I became the happiest the very moment I saw the river… I knew what I wanted and exactly I had got the same.. Yes its time for Optimus to have a much needed bath….. And guess what even I had a wonderful bath after a long time at a hilly river.. water was as cold as ice…
This is where we end day 3 a short day with nothing much other than the waterfalls and river bath…
This is the best day of the trip… A ride into the wild.. Athirappilly to Masinagudi – 291kms
We get up late, thanks to the river bath had a wonderful sleep the previous night.. Started from Athirappilly only by 9am.. And yes I forgot in the previous posts A very special thanks to Kumar HV Sir the founder of HVK, he is a gem of a person and a great person to get information about road conditions all over the country… He has had a major part on all my long rides till date.. Feels great to have him as a guidance… one can join his facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/hvkumar/… Coming back to the ride, roads as always wonderfully maintained.. Now this day was pretty much challenging small roads, too much of traffic and horrible road sense of cab’s and bus drivers made it worst… We reached Kerala and Tamil Nadu border by 2pm… Biding a good bye to the God’s Own Country with a promise to come back soon we leave Kerala… Stopped for lunch…
Now we can call this trip a Pure veg trip, as we never got to had any Non Veg food on the entire ride.. I being a pure Lord Shiva disciple dont have Non Veg on Monday’s so that made it worst… Mind you both of us are very much foody people.. Along with riding to different places we love to taste and try out the crusine and diversified food of different states as well… So this was one part we missed out this ride.. Coming back to the ride we crossed Gudalur and things started changing drastically.. From full of crowd, rash driving and traffic here comes the best part Ride Into the Wild… Complete change of environment.. So much close to nature and Wildlife as soon as we entered Mudumalai National Park we were in complete dense forest. This was not the 1st time for us on Mudumalai or Bandipur.. But yes there was an year gap for this visit… This is where I love riding the most.. Speed is not what thrills me however riding on this awesome Stretch of Mudumalai to Bandipur @25kmph thrills me the most.. I really do love forest a lot.. Coming from a place like Siliguri where its surrounded by dense forest on all 4 directions Only I can understand the pain of residing on a city… So enjoying the awesome weather, view and environment we proceed on these dense forest roads.. On my last visit to Bandipur I was lucky enough to see this Prince of Jungle…
Just when I was praying to spot something similar to God and we were around 2kms from the checkpost/gate of Mudumalai, this Gigantic King is what we were greeted by….
Spotted a few more Deer’s and Peacock but no sign of the Prince till now.. It was almost 3:45 till we reached the Mudumalai Safari office.. And still around 12 kms was our resort… And the last Safari was done by 4:30…. So we had to hurry up reach the resort get checked in and them come back again 12 kms more and get the Safari booked.. But as I said you before your can’t ride fast on these Jungle areas even if the speed limit of 40kmph is not there You yourself will feel to ride slow.. Atleast that is how I am.. I have done 167kmph with Pooja with my optimus but even that can’t beat this 25kmph feel. So we reached the resort only by 4:15pm. The name of the resort is Casa Deep Woods Masinagudi, this one was recommended by one of my good friend and I had booked it only by 11pm lastnight.. The specialty for this resort was it was completely made of woods, the rooms the bed , all inhouse materials everything of wood and yes most importantly it was absolutely at dense forest and was surrounded with forest on all ways.. There is even a sign board inside the resort stating “This is a Wildlife Crossing Corridor, please don’t come out of room after 10pm till 6am… Now this made me more excited.. Now we had to hurry up, kept the saddles didn’t even freshen up just removed our riding gears and left for Mudumalai Safari.. Just while we were starting the manager took down the food order for the night as we had to order before hand due to the resort being at such remote area and he also reminded to be back by 7pm before the sunsets as we were in motorcycle and after dark forest is not at all safe.. But you know I being myself a witty dumb and always looking for some adventure thrill packed wanderer just had the right plan in my mind… You will come to know about it in sometime now…
One the way to Mudumalai Safari office we spotted a few more wild beauties.
So we reached Mudumalai Safari office and it was already 5:35 just to find that the safari timings were over for the day and all bus and jeeps left.. Then I had to make some calls to get the arrangements done.. To my surprise within a few mins after the call there was a Jeep infront of the Safari office waiting for us… …. Now everything set, We start for the Safari.. and here are a few wild fabulous animal’s we spotted….
Never Saw so many of them together at a time…
I was too much excited this time around and was so sure to spot the Price of the Jungle however still didn’t get any luck.. We had got a very good driver and he tried a lot for the a Tiger but all hopes of us were going into vain.. He took us to a wonderful place where we got a very good view of a forest river and waterfall..
With all hopes for a Tiger going off we were almost at the end of our safari just then we were greeted by these wonderful creature..
After completing our action packed dramatic safari we reached the Safari office.. It was already 6:45 and just when we were about to start for our resort in comes Indra Devta ka vardan. Yes it started raining heavily.. So we had to wait at the safari office for sometime as we had our camera’s and of course the DSLR was not water resistant..
As soon as we found some plastic carry bags for the camera and the rain was a bit less we started off for the resort, and now if you remember properly it was around 12kms from the Safari office to our resort through dense forest and the manager had warned us strictly to be back before 7.. Guess what!!! it was already 7 and we were starting from the Safari office.. This is exactly what I planned for, a ride through a dense forest at evening time and adding to the cake was some rain as chocolates.. This is exactly what I dreamed off.. This moment of my life will never come back.. Though to be very frank I was a bit scared however the thrill level was far more then the scare level.. I only had one thing in mind this part of life will never come back a ride with your wife(love marriage) and with your love(optimus) at dark between dense forest!!!! That feeling!! Only I know how it feels.. Trust me when I am trying this its taking me back to that moment between fear, excitement and love.. Can’t explain this feeling..
So till we reached the resort the manager had already called me 5 times and he was tensed as well. After seeing us in one piece he was a bit relieved and he just said one thing, “Sir aap logo mein dam hai” (You guys have gut’s)”.. Finally we reach our rooms take bath and wonderful cooked dinner was ready.. We had dinner with the owner of the resort.. Now this guy was an amazing architect and he was the one who had designed the entire resort.. A very creative man almost at my Father’s age. We had meet him while we were checking in at the resort stay just beside the resort.. An Avid animal lover and we somehow shared the same mindset… He was very interested to know about our travel stories and promised that we will have dinner together.. So here we were me sharing our riding stories all over the country… He was amazed knowing both us touring on a motorcycle at these many places however now we are used to these amusements…. I was more interested on the Jungle Stories… Like he said till sometime back they used to do day and night trekking at dense forest however there was an incident there 2 foreigners were killed on Elephant attack and also some tiger attack stories. I asked him about the sign boards inside the resort if its true or not.. Then came the golden words from his mouth, “Sagar even last night an Elephant visited the resort”. This is exactly what I wanted to hear from him.. The disappointment of not spotting a Tiger went off within seconds… This resort had bamboo trees inside of it and there was no boundaries as such, so the Elephants come to break and play with these bamboo trees.. More than having dinner we were having these kind of conversations..
Finally Completed the dinner and went off to sleep not before I informed the manager of the resort. “Bhaiya agar Hati ya sher aye toh call me even if its middle of the night”(If an Elephant of Tiger comes please knock me even if its middle of the night…. Laughing at this we said sure sir will do.. Somewhere down the line I had a gut feeling that something good is going to happen if not a Tiger an elephant again at least.. I was awake till 1 am and trust me that wild animal sounds at night time in the middle of the forest gives you such feeling that can’t be explained in words, one has to live it to feel it.. 1:05 said my watch went on bed much to my disappointment, just said myself “Sagar All is Well, you saw so many Elephants today and other wild animal so be happy”. I felt yes that’s true and got my mood to settle and went of to sleep…
6:15am in the morning, someone knocks at the door.. When I open it I find our manager bhai there.. He just said” Sir come with me and bring your camera”… That’s when I realize that my wish has been granted.. Next thing woke pooja up took the camera and ran off behind the manager. And yes you are right there was this big giant baby in our resort___________________
Might be this Gigantic beauty came to bid us good bye as I knew its time for this trip to come to an end.. Yes a trip which was through awesome highways, gigantic mountains, mesmerizing Tea valleys, Wild dense forest and the beauty of Kerala coming to an end…. A dream of Munnar coming to an end.. Finally after 3 cancelled trips made it to Munnar… A visit to Athirappilly Falls.. Everything coming to an end.. A dream well lived by us.. And who better to live it with then your life partner…
We Started for Chennai from Bandipur at around 11am. Roads were as usual wonderful.. Reached Hosur by around 5:30pm.. Took a break at Krisnagiri…. By 9pm we reached home(Chennai) and we were fully drained with water, After Vellore till Chennai we had continuous rainfall… But as usual we reached safe and unscratched..
Fully Soaked in rain we reach home..
This time I was not unhappy to go back home.. I was happy that only after we go back home can we plan another wonderful adventure another trip to a new place with my Wife and optimus… By this we come to the end of this awestruck trip.. A leaf added to my book of memories for years to come…
A Special thanks to Pooja for being such an amazing and supportive wife.. I know how painful sitting behind an RC is however you came to my world as a part of it and not against it like many other wife’s do.. Thank You So much for everything..
Hope You like the experiences I shared and hope to ride a lot more places and share a lot more of them…
Thank You For Reading