Escape from the heat! A massive ride to the hills!

Day 2: 31st May, 09

Pollachi – Valparai - Munnar: 250 kms.

Winding roads and fog

Alarm woke us at 5:30 am, we got ready and were ready to roll by 6:30 am. Our destination for the day is Munnar, Kerela. We are riding through Valparai and choosing the most adventurous forest route to reach Munnar. So it’s more of riding on the hills and it’s a test for the man and machine when we ride through the thick forest. As usual our first stop was at a tea shop little outside Pollachi. Here we received the usual stares from the locals. After having hot tea we started our ride. We have to reach Sholayar Dam which is some 40kms from Pollachi and from there the ghat (hill) roads to Valparai starts. We already stopped a couple of times for pictures before reaching the dam. Upon reaching the dam, we paid the entry fee for the ghat roads and started our hill ride. It’s always great to ride on the hilly roads, scrapping our foot pegs, bending and leaning, experiencing the curves of the hills amidst the beautiful scenery.

Total of 40 hair pin bends to reach Valparai. Stopped at a view point to capture the sight of the winding roads. Dilip and Guru didn’t stop much for pictures and they went ahead of us. We three stopped at every scenic spot to click photos. As we neared Valparai we were covered by the mist and fog.

Soon the visibility became very low and it became very cold. Thanks to our riding jackets, we were warm inside. Upon reaching Valparai we found a nice vegetarian restaurant and had our breakfast.

Forest, leeches and scare of elephants!

The next part is the most exciting part of the entire trip. Our route is to ride through the forest route from Valparai to reach Athirampalli falls, Kerala. This stretch is hardly 40 kms in length but it is through the thick forest, with literally no roads and no sign boards. The route starts from the Kerala border.

The forest route is rarely used one, so we came across a very few vehicles throughout. All excited we started to ride through the forest. We decided to stick closer with each other so that we are not lost in between. Hence we were going in a one behind another formation navigating through the boulders and potholes on the roads. The eerie of the forest was in air. As the ride progressed we were getting more scared and the woods got denser. At one point we stopped and switched off our engines and felt the natural sound of the forest. Whoa! It was scary! We came across a car in the opposite direction and enquired the driver about the distance left for us to reach Athirampalli. We had one hour of riding left still through this forest roads. The worst we expected at that point of time was rain. And it started to rain. We stopped and switched to our rain gears and later stopped for a photo.

This is when Dilip, Vicky and Guru noticed that they were attacked by leeches! The guys panicked to see leeches sticking on to their legs. I was aware of leeches in this part of the country and had brought salt with me. Applying salt on the leech, it un hooked itself and fell off.

The adventure was still not over, from here we started to notice elephant dung present all along the route. It brought back memories of the elephant chase that Vignesh and I faced last year in Bandipur forest. But this time it was scarier to think of the same incident now as the roads are very narrow and worse compared to Bandipur. Thankfully we didn’t come across any elephants en route.

Finally we came across a human habitat for almost last four hours. We stopped at a shop and had coffee. Again back on roads and we were excited to see good roads again. The roads were too good and had superb corners. Everyone was using the rear rubber to the fullest and soon we crossed Athirampalli.

From here we had to get to a place called Palladam. From Palladam, Munnar is around 120 kms. We reached Palladam pretty fast and had our late lunch. Had a long break and relaxed our muscles.

Pitch dark!

Back on track we pushed hard to reach Munnar before it gets dark. But sun set very soon in this part which meant we had to ride in the dark on the hills to reach Munnar. We reached a place called Adimalai, some 30 kms before Munnar by 6:30 PM. It was already dark. After having some snacks here we were all set to ride to Munnar in pitch dark condition. To top it the roads from Adimalai to Munnar are bad and narrow, not to forget we were riding on the hills. Which means one wrong judgment of the road; we might end up in a deep trench! As we had two P220s in our gang which has projectors lights, we decided to ride one behind the other with me leading the gang and Vicky trailing. Now the pressure was on me as I was leading the group from the front. I made sure we were riding at slow speeds, say 30-40kmph. We couldn’t go beyond these speeds due to the bad roads and the only light was from our bikes headlights. We maintained the formation throughout and reached Munnar safely.

We had booked rooms at Hotel Hill Top. So went there directly and checked into the cozy rooms. After a moon light walk in the cold we hit the sacks.

Continue to Day 3