Monday, April 18, 2011

Odhi Malai and Beddathamman Cave Trip

Coimbatore never ceases to interest me. Trek, shop, roam, relax, drive - You've got everything here.

The first 5 photos are of Odhi Malai. Out of nowhere a hillock rises on the way to Bhavanisagar Dam. It's around 45 km from Coimbatore. After climbing around 1200 steps you reach a very old Murugan Temple at the summit. And when you go, go in the late afternoon so that you don't miss the glorious sunset at the hilltop.

The next 5 photos are of Beddathamman Cave Temple near Karamadai. This again is around 45 km from Coimbatore towards Mettupalayam. The cave temple here is around 300 years old.

3-State Trip (Wyanad Bike Trip) - Aug 28-30, 2010

It had been quite a while since I went on a long bike trip, and me and Vinay too had not been together on a bike trip, so finally it happened. Also, I had never done a 3-state trip.

If at all you want to do a bike trip covering 3 states within a 3-day period, want to see historic places, a superb drive, gorgeous landscapes, mix spirituality with nature, feel the hospitality of Tamil Nadu, view the rolling plains and villages of Karnataka, and hilly terrain of Kerala, then this is it.

Day 1 = With an equal mixture of scolding and concern from my parents, we started around 8 a.m. The drive to Karnataka passing through the hills of Aasanur and Thimbam was excellent. And we reached Nanjangud. You have to see in person to see the beauty of this great Shiva temple and the Kapila river. Of course, you can't miss the old world charm of Karnataka towns like Chamrajnagar and Gundelpet. You can also go straight from Chamrajnagar to Gundelpet without touching Nanjangud, thereby saving 30 km, but then don't do that. You will miss Nanjangud. And the same day we reached Wyanad, Kerala, via the Bandipur forests. Don't forget to cross the checkpost at Bandipur before 6 p.m., they won't allow you to cross after 6 p.m. And we stayed the night at Sultan Bathery.

Day 2 = Started with a visit to Edakal Caves. This is a prehistoric site dating back to the neolithic period, nearly 6000 years old. Ancient man lived in these caves and you can see carvings depiciting their gods and animals among other things. The same day we visited the Phantom Rock, Wyanad Museum, Kanthanpara Falls, and Karapuzha Dam. We stayped the night at Meppadi.

Day 3 = Rain, Water, Wet, Drenched - these are the words which can describe day 3. It started to rain from 6 a.m. and was contnuing and we had no other go than to start in rain. It was raining continuously till we reached Ooty, Tamil Nadu, shivering like wet chicken.

Route: TAMIL NADU = Coimbatore-Annur-Bannari-Aasanur-Thimbam. KARNATAKA = Chamrajnagar-Nanjangud-Gundelpet. KERALA = Sultan Bathery-Meppadi-Vaduvanchal. TAMILNADU = Cherampani-Gudalur-Ooty-Kotagiri-Mettupalayam-Coimbatore.

Distance: 600 km/3 days

Expenses: Rs.1600/= per head including petrol, food, and lodging.

Skulls Gang Trip - July 23-24, 2010

Our friend Kicha was getting married, and he wanted to go for a trip with our gang - what other place to than our favorite Valparai. And so, we started. Our gang proved at Ukkadam that we still haven't matured. We stopped at a sweet shop for sweets and we three ordered mysoorpas for us and Kicha was quiet.

We: "Dei Kicha, what you want?"

Kicha: "No da, you three finish and wait outside."

We: "But why outside da Kicha?"

Kicha: "I've ordered jelebi da. Promise me that you three won't touch that."

Now, we knew. This guy has ordered a jelebi and he didn't want to share it. And this guy is getting married !!! Poor girl. True to our style, he didn't get even a molecule of the jelebi, we three finished that. And to add insult to injury, we made him pay for all of us.

After that straight to Monkey Falls. Luckily for us, it was full of water and pretty tourist girls (sometimes you just have to forget that you are married). With mind and body refreshed, we headed straight for Valparai. As with all trips, we hadn't planned on where to stay. For first-time travelers to Valparai - you don't have to break your head on which good hotel to stay in Valparai - there is only one good hotel there. Naturally, it was full and we were wondering what to do. Just then, Setty and Deva suggested that we should stay in "Mansion House." For non-alcoholics, Mansion House is neither a mansion nor a house. It's the name of a brandy :-) Finally, we got a room in a 5-room lodge of which we were the only tenants, and we knew why when we were hunting for bed bugs the whole night.

The next day I woke up at 10 a.m. over the sounds of a heated debate - the debate whether we should take bath or not. Kicha's logic was we would waste time. Deva's and Setty's were that no one knows us in Valparai and why the heck we should look clean. My logic was I have a more developed sense of smell than them. Naturally, my logic was shot down and they won. Finally, we had to stop down at a small stream on the way back to home.

It was great trip. When you are the midst of your friends with whom you grew up, with whom you have shared your secrets, who have helped you selflessly, who are so deeply worried about you - You pray that life should never end. And that's what I did throughout the whole trip.

KK Rocks, Prabhu (Parupu), Robert (Doctor), Anwar (Big 5), Shankar (Tata Shankar), Kicha (Oothal), Senthil (Setty), Deva (Head of Sumbais), Nanda (Thaadi), Manickam (Water), Ram (Driver), Natraj (Kottai), Sathish (Padips), Kathir (Paatai), and to the countless ones I have missed here - Thanks for being my friends. Thanks for all the wonderful times and laughter. I am lucky guys.

Route: Coimbatore-Pollachi-Valparai.

Distance: 250 km (round trip)

Expenses: You really can't calculate money when you are with friends right :-)