Monday, April 22, 2013

KONKAN RAID

             KONKAN........ the rugged western coastline from Thane to Mangalore. A region lined by the mighty Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. A region famous for its beaches, cuisine and culture. This is a small travelogue of a roadtrip I did along with my friends, Arun, Vishnu & Jeevan, during 28 to 31st March, 2013.

DAY1: Bangalore to Mangalore

Bangalore is baking hot in the afternoons... The plan was to leave early morning to beat the heat and reach Mangalore by afternoon. I pushed my bike out of the parking lot and went to pick my friend Arun from his residence. It was dark and pleasantly cool as we rode towards Hassan. The early morning mist was hanging in the air, reluctant to let go off the tree tops. Tanked up the bike before we hit the ghat section towards Sakleshpur.

At Sakleshpur Ghats
The roads started winding up the western ghats. Well laid roads, wide but infested by big tanker lorries carrying oil from the refineries in Mangalore.
Watch out for those tankers

Sakleshpur Ghats

Arundas taking in the views









Pulsy was at her element, cornering and trail braking through the wide hairpins.












We passed through Kukke Subramanya and with cool forest stream lined with bamboos, hugging the road as we rode along.
A cool forest stream










Boards written in Malayalam started showing up once we reached Nelyadi.










Smooth roads, with crests and dips in the middle, made riding a pleasurable experience.












.


Mangalore... 104kms to go
We passed through Uppanangadi, a place which came recently in the news due to an oil tanker disaster which claimed 8 lives.











We reached Mangalore by 2pm and had a nice lunch with Pomfret fry at a Kerala Hotel.

We called up our friends, Jeevan and my longtime travel partner Vishnu, who had already arrived at Mangalore from Kerala, and checked in to a hotel.


Lunch at Mangalore
 

We met up and planned to visit Sultan Bathery. To know the directions, I called up my friend, Akshatha and with her timely help we reached there.
Sultan Bathery, Mangalore

Sultan Bathery, Mangalore

Sultan Bathery, Mangalore







The watch tower built by Tippu Sultan is said to be made from stones obtained from demolished churches.









So much for Tippu being secular, eh? :)











 Romance was in the air as we spotted many couples spending some time together... Vishnu and Jeevan checked out from the hotel and off we made our way towards Udupi...









NITK, Surathkal

We saw NIT Surathkal by the side of NH-17, stopped and asked for directions to the Surathkal Beach.
Parking on the beach!











 
A serene beach awaited us... I spun up the rear tyre on the sand and parked my Pusly! :)

Surathkal Beach

Surathkal Beach

Lighthouse at Surathkal Beach

Surathkal Beach






The beach was clean and calm with a red lighthouse seen at the distance.







































We made our way out of Surathkal towards Udupi.

NH17 widening work was going on which meant frequent bad patches... A board told go left for Kapu Beach.



Sunset at Kapu Beach




I waved my friends riding behind to pull over and they did and came up to me surprised. I told anyway we'll reach Udupi by nightfall only, why not see the sunset at Kapu beach? It turned out to be a good idea.

Mr Crab

Lighthouse at Kapu Beach

Kapu Beach

Kapu Beach

Kapu Beach
Jeevan got to work with his Nikon DSLR while Arun me and Vishnu started out chit-chat, lying on the rocks, cooling off with the evening sea breeze on our face.










It was dark when we decided to leave and had trouble finding where we had parked our bikes.











We reached Udupi, checked into a small hotel, took a bath and had tasty biryani, which was washed down with some chilled beer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY2: Udupi to Panaji, Goa

Day 2 started early. We heard a commotion down at the hotel reception. Apparently the receptionist got so drunk, there was no way to wake him up. People were queuing up to collect advance and their patience wearing thin.
Malpe Beach, Udupi
We made our way thorough the cold, dark morning towards Malpe beach.
Malpe Beach, Udupi

Malpe Beach, Udupi




One could see the port and St. Mary's Islands at a distance.





































Sunrise


Hitting the road again, we got a gorgeous view of the sunrise as the sun peeped over a bunch of palm trees...

Mangroves









There were mangroves lining the backwaters and rivers connecting to the sea....

[To be continued]

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Road Trip: Bangalore to Trivandrum in a day

I knew it was going to be tough.... riding 800-odd kms in one day is tough... In the end, I made up my mind and went for it... Did Bangalore to Trivandrum via Wayanad 819 kms in 19 hours. Some memoirs from the trip.

HOW IT CAME ABOUT

My dost Arun Gopal had requested me to bring his motorcycle from Bangalore to Trivandrum. Ah, like the diary milk shots ad "Manassil oru ladoo potti"! How about riding it to Trivandrum! The build up was eventful. The bike's gear jammed in 4th... got it repaired... then I lost the key at my office parking!! Luckily found it the next day from security. Now my mind was split on which route to take. Sensible option was via Hosur-Salem-Coimbatore-Palakkad-Ernakulam-Trivandrum. But its all monotonous highways. So I opted for the more adventurous Mysore-Wayanad-Thamarassery-Thrissur-Kochi-Aleppey-Kollam-Trivandrum. 

AND OFF WE GO....

3AM, 10th of November... the alarm buzzes in my ear... its chilling & foggy outside and I push the bike out of the parking... Its 4.00AM when I hit the Nice Ring Road to Mysore. My breath inside the helmet fogs the visor for a few seconds and it keeps repeating. The sun peeps through above the sugarcane fields as I reach Mandya... 

I stop for a tea and munch on a Snickers. Kilometers later, I can see the towering St. Philomenas Church in the distance. I stop to pray at the church and spot make-up artist Pattanam Rasheed there. Then a comical incident happens... I see many people having tea from a guy. I go and ask for a tea. When I'm about to pay for the tea, he is stunned... He asks "Are you not here for the film shooting??" I stare at him wide eyed  and  then say "No". Moments later we share a laugh....

Its 7.30AM as I reach Mysore. My usual hotel at Mysore is 'Hotel Mysore' near Jagmohan Palace, from where I have my breakfast. After taking some snaps of the Mysore Palace and we make our way to Sultan Bathery in Wayanad.

FZ had performed well, but I wonder how it will fare in the ghats of Thamarassery. At Gundlupet, I stopped to take in some water. The Bandipur reserve forests  were up ahead... To slow down vehicles, the forest department has dug ditches in the road, instead of humps! There were black lines formed by screeching tyres  under sudden braking, which suggests many a driver was caught unaware! I happily used this as my marker to know when a ditch is up ahead :)



The huge bamboos suggested I'm close to civilization again, nearing Muthanga.  I reached Sulthan Bathery by 11.30pm. Sulthan Bathery got its name back in the 18th century, when Tippu Sulthan drove the Jains out and used the Jain Temple as his battery! It's getting hot now... I'm sweating inside the jacket of mine. The road from Bathery to Kalpetta is a back-breaker! Along the way, an accident involving a jeep had occurred... it was sickening to see blood splattered across the broken windscreen and the clotted blood on the tar. A reminder of how a little miscalculation, frustration or  lack of concentration, can make it all go horribly wrong. With that reminder in mind, I hit the Thamarassery ghats. Narrow at places and with trucks and cars jostling for space, its not the most enjoyable of ghat roads to ride on!




Stomach was grumbling as I finished the ghat section and reached Adivaram. I settled my slightly aching bum on the bench of a small roadside hotel and had tasty meals along with fish fry. After asking the hotel owner for directions, I rode towards Thrissur via Kuttippuram. Stopped to take a few snaps of the Bharathapuzha river (Nila) nearby to Kuttippuram bridge.



Fatigue was setting in as I reached Thrissur by 6 pm. I rode to the Swaraj Round in the middle of the town, found an empty bench in the Nehru Park and dozed off for half an hour. Back on the bike and we hit the NH from Mannuthy onwards. Next stop was at Vytila for some thattu dosa & beef roast from a roadside "thattukada".
From there on, it was a non-stop 240 km ride to Trivandrum via Aleppey and Kollam. My bum was paining, wrists felt weak and fingers numb from all this riding. I reached Trivandrum by 11pm. At  home, my father and mother were not impressed (as I had expected). But Amma after venting out some anger on me, did serve me a delicious dinner. So let me wind it up with this quote:
"A mother's love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking"

PS: A big hug to my buddy Arun Gopal for letting me dish out this punishment to his motorbike :)

Thanks for reading,
Visakh.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

THE KERALA ODYSSEY

PLAN

To ride the length of Kerala from Kasargod in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the South. Ride along the beautiful coastline, wash off my sins in the ancient temples, go back in time to the feudal era by visiting palaces and mighty forts, indulge in the tasty Malabar cuisine, meet and mingle with people whose accent, food and culture vary to what I've been used to. 

Route Map

HOW IT CAME ABOUT

Got a call from my friend Vishnu Pisharody one evening in office. Told him my desire for visiting Malabar. He said he got some days off during Onam. I applied for a one week leave which got approved thanks to my manager and the trip was on! My bike (a 2003 Bajaj Pulsar 150 hereafter referred to as 'Pulsy') got prepped up with new Shell Advance oil and I too got myself fit for the ride, jogging & exercising.

DAY 1: 26-August-2012

Woke up at 3.30am. Thank God, no rain. Mounted the Cramster tank bag on my Pulsy. Cold morning, not a soul in sight on the roads and an eerie silence. Rode out of Bangalore by waking up the guy at the Nice Ring Road toll gate and hitting the state highway to Mysore. Its scarily dark, the headlight beam is my only pal. Sun started to come up, damn... the sky looks overcast. Its still cold, I stop for some tea and munch on a Snickers. After Srirangapatna, a sign says go right to Madikeri. As I'm about to reach Hunsur, the heavens open up! I try to wait it out, but the rain comes down with a vengeance. I pull the rain over over the tank bag, but it keeps flapping in the wind. I try to adjust it while riding, nearly missing a car on the oncoming lane. Stupid mistake... I'm rattled a bit. It cold and misty as I arrive at Madikeri. A solider's statue stands defiantly in the middle of the town, reminding us of their sacrifice through the wordings "Lest we Forget!" I'm shivering now and famished. The rain still comes down hard... I have hot poori-masala from a hotel, and leave a pool of water where I sit. The hotel waiter frowns... The conditions are treacherous as I make my way to Kasargod. Bike's slipping and sliding everywhere... Thick forest and coffee plantations line the fast sweeping roads till Sampaje. 

Madikeri to Sampaje
The fragrance of little white coffee flowers fill the air. From Sampaje onwards the roads are bad, the rains are worse and the girls are so pretty. I pull by a old waiting shed, battered by rain. Two little kids look at me as if they had seen an alien... I smile and they flash a smile back. I'm frowning as I battle the gravel, potholes and mud but I smile seeing a striking blue board- "Welcome to Kerala". 
Kerala-Karnataka Border
Roads are now narrower snaking their way through the forest but smooth.
Mularia,Boovikanam and Cherkala... some nice views along the way, including a hanging bridge.

A hanging bridge
Stomach growls with hunger, so I stop by Cherkala and have a nice lunch with fish fry. Reached Kasargod town by 3pm, and gave a 'lift' to a man till the bus stand who returned the favor by suggesting a nice tourist home to stay. A hot bath and switching on the TV to see Pedrosa and Lorenzo go head to head in MotoGP. A call from Vishnu at 7pm woke me up. Went to railway station to pick him and had a sumptuous dinner with a lot of chitchat in between. Good night wishes were exchanged early since tomorrow would be the start of our 'Kerala Odyssey'.

 

DAY 2: 27-August-2012

6.30am... We step out of lodge and ride out on to the roads. Kasargod is still sleepy. Our destination is Kumbala where the Ananthapura Lake Temple is situated. An open hill greet us... crisp morning air, wide open spaces, plants bathed in dew. Jackets and jeans are not appropriate for visiting a temple... A few curious eyes welcome us at the entrance of the temple. 

Ananthapura Lake Temple, Kasargod

The Ananthapura Lake Temple is a sight to behold. A beautiful temple in the middle of a pristine lake. A vegetarian crocodile called 'babiya' roams the lake and is said to guard the temple!  


Ananthapura Lake Temple, Kasargod
There is so much peace in this place, I can stay here for an eternity. I feel this is how temples were in the past era, before they became money making machines with microphones blaring out bhajans.  
Ananthapura Lake Temple, Kasargod
Next stop was the Madhur Temple. A gushing stream fed by the heavy rains rumbled near the entrance to the temple. The temple viewed from an angle looked similar to a Stupa with its curving shape.  


Madhur Temple, Kasargod
  
Malik Deenar Mosque, Kasargod

After a breakfast of idiyappam and egg curry, we visited the Mailk Deenar Mosque. The holy grave of Malik Deenar, who was the first follower of Prophet Muhammad, is situated in this mosque.










Chandragiri Fort was next up as we rode through the pothole filled NH to Kanhangad. Pulsy's suspension creaked at the punishment it was suffering. Chandragiri Fort looked deserted, not cared for by the authorities evident by the growth of tall grass and wild creepers inside the fort.

Chandragiri Fort, Kasargod
The view from the fort was breathtaking... The Chandragiri river flows into the sea. A railway bride extends across the river and a couple of trains hooted their way past in the distance            .


"Tu hi re" song from the film Bombay was playing on my mind while riding towards the Bekal Fort. Mani Ratnam did a lot to make the Bekal Fort famous, with that soulful love song by A R Rahman, featuring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala. The Bekal Fort built in 1650 AD covers an area of 40 acres! 
It is picturesque with the Arabian sea stretching beyond the fort walls.
We walked the circumference of the fort, a tiring walk indeed considering the sheer area of the fort.
The impending rain and greenery gave the place a magical presence.
Bekal Fort, Kasargod






The rain started coming down hard as we made our way out of the Bekal Fort. Next stop was at Nileshwar, to meet up with our dear friend Sreekanth and his family. 
At Sreekanth's home, Nileshwar, Kasargod

Sreekanth's mom prepared a delicious lunch for us. After some chitchat with him and his brother, it was time to hit the road again. Kannur/Cannanore beckons...











Sun was shining through the palm leaves as we neared the famed Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple.
Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple, Kannur

Rituals of this temple are unique. Fish, meat and toddy (liquor obtained from coconut palm) are the customary offerings to the deity, Sri Muthappan! 








Photography was prohibited but I still managed to get a snap in. The drum beating had started inside the Madappura as we washed our face in the stream gushing in front of the temple.

We reached Kannur town and after muscling past the traffic, we rode through the Cantonment area towards St. Angelos Fort. It was built by the Portugese in 1505. 
Fort St Angelo, Kannur

 











A panoramic view of the Arabian sea and Mappila Bay is visible from the fort. 
Mappila Bay, Kannur

The fort premises were beautiful... the gentle sea breeze, the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks and the vapor hanging in the air washed our fatigue away.
 Arabian Sea as seen from Fort St Angelo, Kannur
 Arabian Sea as seen from Fort St Angelo, Kannur
A magical evening ends... now have to find a place to stay. A tourist home near the railway station and a safe parking area...Cant ask for more! Camera batteries needed a recharge and  so did we. We got our recharge in the form of a hot, spicy Malabar style chicken biryani! :)

 

 

 

 

DAY 3: 28-August-2012

Woke up early... took a look outside... no rains... great!! Payyambalam Beach was our destination. 
Payyambalam Beach, Kannur
Kids were playing football and at times hollering "Pass the ball... Over here".
 
Payyambalam Beach, Kannur

Breakfast time and we walked into Kerala and Kannur's own 'Indian Coffee House'. A photo of Saghavu (Comrade) A.K. Gopalan who had played an important role in the formation of Indian Coffee House looked down on us.










A casual look at the newspaper headlines stunned us. At night, a tanker lorry carrying LPG had overturned and caught fire, burning down houses and killing 14 (eventual death toll). With a heavy heart we made our way to see the Arakkal Palace
Arakkal Palace Museum, Kannur
Arakkal family was the only Muslim royal family in Kerala. 













Another unique feature of the Arakkal family was the eldest member of the family, whether male or female, became its head and ruler. While male rulers were called Ali Rajah, female rulers were known as Arakkal Beevis.
 
The items on display included swords, cutlery, furniture, telephones, vases which dates back to the golden era of this Malabar kingdom.
  


Back to room, picked the luggage and off we made our way through Thazhe Chovva to the NH. Next stop was the wonderful drive-in beach at Muzhappilangad
At Muzhappilangad Beach, Kannur

The beach was pristine... A 3km strech of sand and surf. I got a bit over excited and started splashing on the waves. Pulsy started to misfire.

She stalled and refused to start again! We are in trouble now. Vishnu had an "You idiot... I told you so" kind of expression. No other way than to push the bike 2kms till we found a workshop. 











Mechanic says sea water has shorted the electricals and only showroom guys can repair it. We find a carriage-van and take it to Thalassery town. Its a day before Thiruvonam... Showrooms are closed. The van driver takes us around the town in search of a workshop and finally we find one and the mechanic 'ettan' finds and fixes the issue with surgical precision. No wonder why people from Kannur have a reputation of being nice and helpful... Thanks a dozen for the help!
Thalassery Fort

We make our way to Hotel Raraavis. A lady coming down the steps, trips and Vishnu saves her from falling down and becomes a hero for the moment.  Tasty 'Thalassery Biryani' settles our appetite. Thalassery/Tellichery Fort is next. 
Thalassery Fort
Lighthouse inside the Fort

A British built Chruch
The fort offers view of a couple of old churches built during the British era and the sea beyond it. As we move out of Thalassery the rain comes down again.
Rain eases off as we near the Union Territory of Mahe.We fill up petrol from Mahe which is still a scarcely believable Rs 66 to a litre.
Petrol at Mahe- Rs 66 per litre!!
Police stop us and check our bags for liquor. They are stunned when we say we are riding from Bangalore to Trivandrum. The most frequent question follows "Don't you get back pain?". I smiled and said "No".




Kozhikkode/Calicut is ahead of us. We make a detour to see Lokanarkavu Temple where people stare at us as if we were some hippies. Well, uncombed, unshaved and soiled with dust is not the best way to visit a temple. 
Lokanarkavu Temple, Vadakkara, Kozhikkode





Kunjali Maraikkar museum was closed by the time we reached there. All because of the time lost at Muzhappilangad beach...

Kunjali Maraikkar Museum, Kozhikkode
Story was same at Thikkotti Lighthouse as well... 7pm and it was closed! Disappointed...we made our way to Calicut town...
Thikkotti Lighthouse, Kozhikkode

The ride in the dark to Calicut was most dangerous. On-coming vehicles never dip their high beams, buses overtake recklessly and miss us by inches! We enter Kozhikkode town hungry, tired and find a tourist home. We crash into bed and 'Casanova' film playing on TV cheers Vishnu up. Biryani again, from famed Hotel Sagar and off to sleep.

 

 

 

 

DAY 4: 29-August-2012

Early morning... its cold and damp from the overnight rain. Its Thiruvonam as well. Kappad Beach  is where Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed back in May 20, 1498 and established the sea route from Europe to India. 
We ride 16 kms through the Kozhikkode beach road towards Kappad. Seeing Kozhikkode Beach brings back memories as I came here with friends back in 2006 for my friend Sapna's wedding.
Kappad Beach


 
The rain starts coming down hard as we reach Kappad beach. Its early morning and we are the first ones to visit the beach which will fill up with tourists as the day goes on...

Early morning fishing
Pulsy rests near Kappad.
Drenched we ride back to our tourist home in Calicut town. Along the way Pulsy misfires and I'm scared if water has entered the engine again. We plan to wait it out inside a shopping mall parking lot. Shops are closed because its Thiruvonam. 

As the rain eased we made our way to Beypore Port. Its the oldest port in Kerala from where trading was done to the Middle East. The man in charge was very curious to know about us and our trip.

Beypore Port


Waiting for the ferry

Photography was prohibited but we got a snap from the Jengar. Jengar is the ferry that carries people and vehicles across the Chaliyar. Beypore is also famous for building wooden ships, called Dhows or Urus in Malayalam.
Our ferry is here....

Pulsy rests on the ferry
The ferry journey took about 20mins... We soaked in the view of the rain soaked palms, backwaters and a old lighthouse far away. Time to bid goodbye to Beypore, the place where the famous writer Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer was born.
Bye bye ferry...
I recollected some parts of Basheer's story "Pathumma ude Aadu (Pathumma's Goat)" which I studied in school, during the ride on the Jengar. People advised us to take the Kadalundi bridge to go across to Malappuram.

Ready for Malappuram.
Kadalundi bridge was a spectacle in itself.
Kadalundi Bridge
Kadalundi Bridge
The rumbling sea-waves were beating the pillars of the bridge. Took a couple of snaps and sped to Tirur.

Kadalundi Bridge
At Kadalundi Bridge
Tirur wore a deserted look. Being Onam most shops were closed. But we found a small hotel open and asked for chicken biryani. It was so tasty with onion dipped in vinegar and beetroot pickle for company. Sadly Thunjan Parambu was closed.
Thunjan Parambu, Tirur, Malappuram
Thunjan Parambu, Tirur, Malappuram
It is a memorial situated where the father of Malayalam language, Thunjathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan was born.

Thunjan Parambu, Tirur, Malappuram
Next up was the famed temple situated in the banks of Bharatapuzha... the Thirunavaya Temple. It is the place where the Mamankam Festival used to happen years back.

Thirunavaya Temple
The sandy banks were swallowed up by Nila due to the rains.

I was a bit disappointed since I wanted to lie down on the sand, look up at the sky and relax.
Overflowing Nila.
Chamravattom Bridge
We crossed over to Thrissur district via Ponnani through the Chamravattom Bridge.
Ponnani Lighthouse
We visited Ponnani lighthouse and beach, the beach having small hills of sea shells which will be crushed for making lime.



Taking a breather at Ponnani Beach

Stopped by the roadside to have hot tea and Pazhampori (Banana Fry)... nothing beats that combination in the rains. Thrissur, here we come....











Guruvayoor Mamiyur Temple
The hustle and bustle of Guruvayoor was next.
One of the major temples in Kerala, Guruvayoor enjoys a special place in the hearts of all Krishna devotees.

Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple, Thrissur
  Guruvayoor Temple is the biggest temple in India, considering the number of devotees per day!!




Found a lodge to stay after a lot of searching... because of the rains, I wanted a place that offered proper parking with shetler for the bike.

Paramekkavu Temple, Thrissur

Hunger was reaching its peak again and we went into a Chinese Restaurant near the Swaraj round. After that we visited the Vadakkumnathan and Paramekkavu Temples... the rivals at the spectacular Thrissur Pooram.

Vadakkumnadan Temple, Thrissur

Off to sleep after another tiring day....

DAY 4: 30-August-2012

Morning.... The air feels heavy due to the overnight rain. This is the last day of the odyssey. We set off from Thrissur towards Kodungalloor
Arattupzha Temple, Trichur
A detour is taken to see the near 3000 year old Arattupuzha Temple. The drizzle starts as we near Irinjalakuda.












A right deviation from the state highway takes us to the imposing Koodal Manikyam Temple, only temple in India dedicates to Bharata, second brother of Rama.
Koodal Manikyam Temple, Irinjalakkuda


The temple looked majestic with it huge pillars shaded in a tinge of blue.

Koodal Manikyam Temple, Irinjalakkuda


It was around 8am and we went to the Indian Coffee House near the bus stand to have masala dosa and  hot coffee.

Koodal Manikyam Temple, Irinjalakkuda



On the road again to Kodungallor. The discovery of the ancient great seaport of the Muziris happened to be in Kodungallor which dates back to trade relations during the Roman era.

We reached the Kodungallor Bhagavathy Temple. A huge queue of devotees had lined up to see Kodungallor Amma. We kept our bags and shoes in the luggage area and walked around the temple premises.





Kodungaloor Bhagavathy Temple, Kodungaloor


A huge athappokalam was kept in front of the temple. The Bharani festival at Kodungaloor ranks as one of the grandest temple festivals in Kerala.









At Kodungaloor Bhagavathy Temple, Kodungaloor

The Cheraman Juma Masjid at Kodungallor is said to be the first mosque in India,  built in 629 AD by Malik lbn Dinar!

Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kodungaloor
 
Model of the mosque

After obtaining permission from a senior Mullah, we entered the mosque to give prayers. We removed our footwear, washed our face, hands and feet and entered. It was a mystical feeling when I knelt down, bowed my head and touched the floor, in front of Quran.

I've never been inside a mosque before. I prayed to Allah to provide me a safe journey back home.

A musuem showcasing the history of the masjid was in the premises. A beautiful model of mosque in its original form was kept there.
Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple is one of the oldest Shiva Temples in South India.

Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple, Kodungallor

The grand architecture and beautifully crafted woodwork had us gazing in awe! To build something like this with the old tools they had is just mind boggling.


Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple, Kodungallor
 

One looses track of time gazing at the serene temple pond and the peaceful temple surroundings.










Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple, Kodungallor


Now we went out in search of the Kodungallor Fort which is said to be the place where the Muziris seaport was situated. We rode to the Kottappuram backwaters and rode a small rode by the lakeside to the fort site. Excavations were going on. We found a young guy spending sometime alone. 
Kottappuram Backwaters, Kodungallor


Kottappuram Backwaters, Kodungallor


He was curious about us and a conversation started between us. We came to know that he was doing his MBBS in Govt Medical College, Trivandrum.

He bid goodbye to us and started his bike. Pishu said he would explore the place and I sat on a small step by the lakeside and dipped my feet in the cold water. The rain started pouring down. I pulled my pullover jacket over my head....



Pulsy takes a breather


The chinese nets seems to blur out as the rain lashes down more heavily! Vishnu runs towards me... I start the bike and we ride to find a shelter. Shelter comes under the Kottappuram Bridge and we see that our future doctor, Sahid, also has taken refuge there. We talk a bit, snap a couple of pics with him....


Vishnu & Sahid


As the intensity of the rain drops, we bid adieu to our new friend. I drop Vishnu at the bus stand. "See you on another trip buddy... Thanks for making this happen" I say as he waves from the bus. For me its a long journey ahead... some 340 kms...

I rush towards Edapally and the rain is just pouring down... I stop by a pan shop which has some shelter... shivering I lit a smoke... Back on road again till Vytilla where I stop for a nice veg meals from Aaryas hotel.

I have to ride even if it is raining.... else it will be too late to make it to home. I keep concentrated on the road ahead. Rain becomes unbearable near Cherthala. Stop again... It was then a splash-n-dash to Trivandrum. I was near exhaustion as I reached Trivandrum by around 10pm, but I screamed inside my helmet with elation. It was the culmination of a journey that I had dreamed of doing from the time I started riding a motorbike.... It was a journey that will remain in my memories forever.........

Thanks for reading,
Visakh. A
[Photography: Visakh & Vishnu]
-------------------------------------The Kerala Odyssey--------------------------------