It was 4 months since we properly rode somewhere. More so, we had a good 3 months for the next trip. Unable to control the numbness that was prevailing, we decided to get some adrenaline. With 2 days in hand, Yelagiri and Horseley were the options. We had never been to Horseley before and therefore opted for it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get accommodation. The fallback was Yelagiri. To add some spice to the trip, we decided to go through Gingee, and come back via the Golden Quadrilateral. This trip would be slightly more than 600 kms, but we never have to travel the same roads twice. The other good thing is that we also get to visit the peaceful architecture in Gingee.
We had 2 new people this time, apart from the regular Allen and me, Praveen Selvam. We had a third bike, ridden by Sriram and Rajesh rode pillion with Allen most of the time.
On Saturday morning, we grouped near Tambaram at half past four in the morning. It was quite dark and we had tea to refresh a bit. Without having to stop much, we drove south through the GST. I was leading as usual, paced a little faster. Allen was following and the end, going very steady with the bike. Sriram was somewhere in between. About a couple of toll gates later, I stopped by to regroup. A little later after Sriram joined me, we got a call from Rajesh telling that Allen’s bike had some issue and wanted us to come back.
Heading back, we spotted Allen on the other side of the road, fiddling around with the bike. When I got to him, he explained that the wires’ insulation was melting due to the engine heat and needed re insulation. On doing so, we were good to go. I had informed everyone that we had to deviate west from Dindivanam. On reaching that spot, we had to take a bridge that w lead us to Gingee. By the time I could figure this out, I only had Sriram with me. We had comfortably lost Allen and Rajesh. Or rather, they had lost us.
The road to Gingee was no more broad. They were the typical countryside roads with people surprising the ride all through. I assured Sriram that Allen would reach Gingee and asked him to keep riding in the direction I’d go. We reached Gingee sooner that we thought, but without half the gang. As we waited for them, we inquired the local people on places to go and timings it would open.
It was only 8, but the people said they open up only by 9 or 10. Once Allen and Rajesh made it, we found a nice small hill with some rocky structures above to camp temporarily. I climbed up the hill with Rajesh, settling down with tall the bags and accessories. The other two went out in search of food. Atop the hill, Rajesh went around lazing to find some shade and to find any interesting spots nearby. I was busy with the camera. For a good 40 minutes, it was just me, Rajesh and a few monkeys here and there.
Food arrived. So did our rivals.
I could see the eagerness in Allen’s eyes when we unpacked the set dosas and getti (solid) chutney. We sat down in a circle unpacking all the food we had bought. All of a sudden Allen shouts, “Rajesh watch out… Behind you!” We had co
mpany. The monkeys were approaching. Rajesh swayed his hand trying to shoo a monkey away. The monkey promptly responded to his action, shouting back in its own scary language. Rajesh was in no mood to defend. All he did was, stand up, and hand over the food to the ‘overpowered’ enemy. Before the rest of us could realize, we had more such creatures by our feet, grabbing all the food and walking away without losing their cool a bit. Looking around us, we were on the top of the hill, and monkeys were approaching from all sides. We decided to throw away whatever food we had, into the deepest area we could see from there. It was a good move, I must say. It diverted the monkey army to that area, while we grabbed our things and made a move. We named the episode, “WORLD’S FASTEST SURRENDER” to the Monkey Kindgom.
Being too hungry to even think about anything else, we made our way to Vasanta Bhavan, were Allen called the waiter and said, “Repeat the same order please!”
After breakfast, we entered the fort area. We never prefer the crowded places and therefore checked out the Archery in the corner first. Not finding much there, we proceeded to the temple nearby. We were the only people to have set foot at that time. It was pretty early in the morning. Having loaded our tummies, we felt extremely sleepy. We had a quick look through the temple and settled down in one corner. After a nice chat for close to an hour, we packed our bags to leave. Next stop, Yelagiri!
I was leading as usual. The countryside roads were proving to be more than exciting and I had no reason to stop and check back on the others. However, the sun was getting higher and so was the heat. I had to take a break to get some liquids into my body. Thats when I met Sriram and he said we could stop further down for some tender coconut.
The sun was getting very hot by then and we wanted to start climbing the hills soon. It was going to take another 40 minutes to reach the foothills and we didn’t want to waste much time. Quickly driving through the dusty towns, I stopped by the last major town before the ascend to tank up. My bike is electronically controlled and can’t tolerate low fuel levels. At the foothills, we took a 15 minute break for the engines to cool down and started the climb.
Rajesh switched pillion seats and came with me. I was all excited to ride the ghats after such a long time. It took us less than 20 minutes to reach the top. We had made an advance booking in a small hotel that was in the process of being built. The actual room we had to occupy had guests about to leave. The hotel guy asked us to stay in a bigger room temporarily until they leave. Taking turns, we refreshed ourselves, as Rajesh and Allen went to get us some lunch.
When the two returned with enough food, we started gobbling up everything we could see. We were done in no time at all. A couple of lazy bums started looking out for some space on the bed to recline. Unfortunately, it was 4 in the evening, time to start for Jagalamparai Falls. Almost everyone thought that this was a place atop the Yelagiri hill. I had to make them aware that we had to travel back a good distance after getting down the hill, to reach the spot.
On the way down, I noticed that my rear brake was getting sluggish. I stopped by to check it and found that the plate was piping hot. The disc plate was rubbing against the pads. I was furious with the idiots who had replaced my tyres a few days back. The guy who did that wasn’t aware of dealing with my bike and had screwed up the alignment of the brakes. On the way to the falls, I found a Bajaj service center, who helped me align the brakes properly.
The path to the falls was about 14 kms off the main road. This lead through very small villages with lush green farms and domestic animals. Chilren playing around made the place more lively. We knew that the falls actually had no water, but we wanted to experience the ride to this place that was something we can’t image in urban land. We had no reason to spend too much time in the the destination and decided to turn back very quickly. W
e wanted to get to the view point on the hill by sunset.
Swiftly moving through the town traffic, I was at the view point in no time. Rajesh was riding Sriram’s bike, arrived later who was shortly followed by Allen. We could see the adjacent towns from up there as the sun was slowly fading behind the mountains that formed the horizon. It was a cloudy day, and so we experienced a nice orangy atmosphere instead of sharp streaks of the sun hitting us. We spent about an hour laughing and giggling, before it got dark and we moved out.
Heading back to the room, we had dinner and hit the sack.