Villaging Around- Ghat to Ghat
I had planned a relatively big ride, to treat myself for having finished my semester exams, the very next day after their completion. In fact, this ride on the 23rd of December 2010 was planned immediately after my exam time table was out! I had planned it well just like all my few previous rides, having sketched out the route maps, places to visit, inviting all my rider friends, and the like. But since it was a weekday, Satvik (who is always ready for rides, irrespective of the time or the day) and I, were the only ones to set out on the ride to Anchetty, Tamil Nadu; Satvik on his Standard 350 and I on my Classic 500.
Our initial plan was to start by 6 AM, so as to be able to avoid the traffic before the office crowd begins to flood the streets. But these were the days when Bangalore was freezing every morning and night. We realized soon that we had underestimated the cold, and so ended up leaving only by 7 AM. The weather and the cold breeze felt great against our face for the first few minutes, but within no time the cool breeze seemed to change to cold wind! We continued however, waiting for the sun to start shining, but in vein! We hit the 9 km long Electronic City flyover and almost regretted having left in such weather. It was so misty and foggy that we could hardly see beyond a few metres ahead of us. Our jackets (not waterproofed) and pants were soaked, and helmets were dripping water. We took our first stop at a small tea shop immediately after, on Hosur road and warmed our frigid hands against the bike silencers! The sun seemed to be playing a game of hiding behind the clouds every time we rode, and shining bright in our face when we took stops the whole morning.
We had breakfast at Hotel Ananth Bhavan at Hosur just before taking a deviation towards Denkanikottai. The food was delicious. The hot idlis and dosas we had one after another seemed to have taken the waiter by surprise, considering we don’t look like we could eat so much!!
We chugged along towards Denkanikottai by which time the weather had become blissfully beautiful. It was breezy again although the sun was out and shining. But the cool breeze and the beautiful roads made the ride a pleasure. The road from Hosur to Denkanikottai was sparse with hardly any vehicular traffic. This is where, for the first time, I touched 130 kmph on Queen. It felt like a cake-walk, considering the power a Classic 500 has, but to me it was an accomplishment.
We were supposed to have gone straight from Denkanikottai towards Anchetty according to the plan, but considering the sort of things we are always up to, we decided to take the route via Hogenakkal which was a roundabout and we weren’t even sure about the road conditions. Didn’t matter! So, Hogenakkal it was! We asked for routes all along the way. This was sort of irritating because every time the rhythm began to build, we had to stop to confirm the route. After passing many villages and farmlands, we entered a ghat section, with narrow roads, beautiful views and minimal traffic. Just as we were realizing the kick we got out of the surprises while riding, we were faced with another pleasant surprise of river Cauvery flowing right next to us for kilometres together. I had a non-erasable grin on my face, and I knew there was an ear-to-ear grin on Satvik’s face too. After riding along for many kilometres on these beautiful winding roads, stopping every now and then, unable to resist capturing the beautiful views on the camera, we entered civilization again. Palakkodu was the biggest town we had come across after exiting Bangalore, and we had lunch at the best looking place we found. People seemed to be gaping at us all along, confused at the sight of two bikers (one girl at that) on what looked like some cool bikes!
It was late afternoon and the weather had gotten sunny. Add to this the frequent stops we had to take to ask for directions, u-turns after u-turns, villagers trying their best to show us the shortest routes, thus leading to some crazy confusion every time we asked for second opinions. After all the drama, and our inability to remember the names of villages we were headed towards, we finally came across a milestone that said “Hogenakkal- This way”. It was almost evening and we hadn’t even gotten ourselves to the destination, but that dint matter. My tension of getting back to the city in time faded at the sight of the very first curve which was the beginning of another ghat section with even better views than the one we came on in the afternoon! Our grins were back with a bang! We reached Hogenakkal in no time. After considering whether or not to head towards the famous waterfall, we decided against it, wanting to cover the next stretch of bad roads and hit Anchetty, another ghat section!
As we rode along, we had the river flowing right next to us. So we went down to the water and did another one of the photo sessions! The view was beautiful and the water was white, being so close to the waterfall itself. It was evening and the weather was nice again. All was good, except the road that led to Anchetty. These were not even state highways and were covered with craters. Not pot holes, craters! This was a 60 km long stretch, with just small villages after villages, and it was the typical sight of rural India, where evidently, people weren’t used to seeing too many loud bikes!
Upon reaching Anchetty, we stopped just for a chai and decided to ride on. We were now finally going to get back to our decided route. We had heard a lot about the roads to Anchetty. But as we started riding, we knew no words could have done justice to the roads to this place. The beautiful curves and bends, the broad winding roads were the third ghat section we did during the ride, and the best one out of them all. The sun was slowly going down and with every curve we could see it going down. All motorcyclists know the thrill of riding in the ghats, so you can imagine how our ride must have been, with three beautiful ghat sections.
By the time we hit Hosur road it was dark and the crazy Bangalore traffic had taken over the city. We got back home straight after the ride this time, without stopping for our customary chai towards the end of every ride.
The ride was supposed to have been 160 kms, and it was 325 kms when we got back to the city. Just a few extra kms, but we returned to Bangalore happier and satisfied.