Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Extravaganza “Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu”

30th Oct 2012 to 04th Nov 2012

Start of yet another memorable trip to the nature with BASC. Being a Tamilian cum North Indian first time I crossed the border of Tamil Nadu, happiest me.J J J 

Difficult to forget the night I was starting for this trip. Heavy rain in Bangalore, which took almost 2 hours to reach pick-up point, actual time would take 15-20 minutes from my place. Time when Tamil Nadu was hit by Nilam, though the place was more than 7 hours away from Kodai, but close ones still cares. Messages and calls flowing into the mobile with strict instructions like, “take care, be safe, message every day, call every day, don’t go much closer to water, can’t you cancel this trip, be with group, if problem increases be at hotel, etc.”  Flow of water was reminding me of Kudremukha trek. I was pushing myself against the direction of wind and moving. And finally reached, after boarding ourselves and cycles we moved around 12 AM (supposed to start at 9:30 PM) credit goes to rain.

Day One: Early morning Surprise!!! Morning we reached Palani, the weather was opposite of what we faced last night. NO rain at all. Cool weather with little shine and clouds made the night trouble worth facing. J I called up my friend to say we reached safely and got to know in Bangalore it was still raining. Everyone started getting freshen up and this Tamilian started reading Tamil written on the shops, buses etc. listening to the people and observing their accent, looking all the places with curiosity and feeling happy. J After all got freshen up we went to have breakfast and it is fun when you know the language and others not, you can imagine how much fun one can have. I had extremely extra lot J J J

After breakfast it was time to start the challenging ride. From Palani to Kodaikannal 57km which was uphill, uphill and uphill. J An interesting ride into the greenery through the clouds was an extravaganza. People rightly termed it as honeymooner’s place. After group pic everyone started their ride. I was lone non cyclist, left behind with the vehicles and 2 drivers in midst of beauty. But I am not a girl to sit quite at one place. Informed driver anna, took camera and started walking. In my 2 kms of walk I saw Lady cutting wood, kids collecting coconuts, old lady fetching water, a man working on his hut, family sitting in front of house speaking, dogs gazing at me, Elephant crossing the road going inside the forest, 2 men sitting road side listening to radio. This was the walk worth walking. I was the center of attraction for them for me entire thing. I returned back to the vehicle and we started towards Kodaikannal. Good thing driver Anna knew Tamil so I didn't have any problem in communicating. If you see from down it looks clouds covering entire mountains and when we were going up it was literally riding through the clouds. Chillness was increasing as we were going up. I asked driver anna to stop at tea point. We stopped, had tea and waited for others to pass. Actually I was getting tea shop business done by standing there. Whoever comes I will take them to the same shop and with everyone I too will have tea. Like this I had 7 cups of tea. J J
After that we started again and at last reached Kodaikannal city. Now the next target was to find place to crash. Before everyone reaches the city we should be able to finalize some place. Driver Anna knew one person who was in charge of one homestay. He took us to that place and after long time of bargaining he agreed. I must say the homestay was too good with all amenities and the caretaker was one old grandpa. Meanwhile Vinay and Dattu reached city at the church road  and wanted to reach the place sooner as they were shivering from cold. That time still the negotiation was going on. I decided to take jacket and pick them up. Ambi gave me his torch and then I started walking towards the church. Road was dark and calm, sound and light comes only when any vehicle pass by that route. On that road I was just running and running. Finally reached and on the way back to homestay felt yes it is very dark and I ran alone on this road. Luckily didn't come across any animal or Bison’s otherwise my running speed would be faster than cycling J J after this everyone else reached and we all finished our dinner and went to bed.

Day two: Thanks to Ambreesh, where I got chance to ride and experience the beauty of nature. Track full of greenery, fog, tile track along with concrete track, uphill, downhill, curves and jovial group to ride with. Ride started from the home stay to first visit Coaker’s Walk. It was mesmerizing and fully covered with fog. As soon as we entered inside a guy was shouting, “Fall view, village view, school view only 3 rupees telescope view” so Myself, Sarvesh and Viswa went to see that. But couldn’t see clearly because of the fog which covered everything, I could only see the village but nothing else. Viswa’s question there “We can’t see anything, will he give our money back or next round when we come back?”  J By the time we finished our sightseeing it was time to have lunch. We went down the hill for lunch. After lunch it was time to get into the greenery and cool air towards other attractions. Next we visited to Pillars rocks. The Pillar rocks are three granite boulders which are seen standing vertically shoulder to shoulder. It was difficult to get the exact view of all the three because it was very misty and rocks were fully covered by it. For seconds it will get clear and then again it will get lost in the mist. We saw the beauty of pillar rocks while coming back after finishing our day’s ride. It was beautiful. Vertical pillars standing together and adding beauty to the rest of the mountain ranges. One must see with their eyes to experience such beauty.

Next we went ahead to Guna Cave. Guna Cave is formed between the two Pillar Rocks in Kodaikanal. After purchasing tickets, we started walking inside; it was more like mini forest. Calm place with little darkness and little sunshine falling on us and color of trees as light orange were the first things I noticed as I entered. After a walk of 5 minutes we reached the outer view of the cave where grills were placed and visitors are not allowed to go beyond that. We tried to go little more up to see the suicide point but we were not allowed by the forest official, may be because more suicides are happening nowadays. J So we came back and waited for our entire group to reach. Later when our entire group came the forest official came to us and started talking. He was a friendly guy and from Karnataka too so got mingled with us. Which was one plus and he asked us whether we would like to see the Cave from inside, on one condition that no girls should come inside. I asked about me, that time I got the funniest reply “You are not looking like girl only you can come.”  J We jumped over the fence and he took us all inside to have a closer view of the cave. We all stopped at the last point. From that point we can see way to go ahead between the rocks but it was dangerous. That place was cool and water was dropping, which may be mist hitting the rocks. After that we started back and security guard told us not to tell the gate guard that they allowed us inside as we crossed the time limit also some other rules and regulations too. J

After we reached entrance now plan was to go ahead but security guards said not to go at this time as it was getting dark. We decided to turn back to the base, crash to the bed and get charged up for next day. So we all started heading back to our sweet homestay. We were riding first to be first. It was awesome enjoying downhill, super curves and evening beauty of the nature. But this enjoyment didn’t last for long and everything was stand still as I met with an accident on one of the curves. Early in the morning I came to one route and while going uphill I decided I will take my friends via that route so that we will reach sooner than others. Coming back saw that shortcut which Viswa had already passed, so I was looking at him and at the shortcut also. Got distracted badly, riding downhill with full speed, missed the curve where I should take turn, lost my balance completely. Immediately can’t apply brakes too as it is also dangerous. For fraction of seconds got balance then again lost it and fell down from the cycle. Sarvesh was the person who saw live action he was riding behind me. Till the time I was losing my balance I remember I am about to fall but what happened after that I don’t remember I was un-conscious. After that I remember somebody is shouting, “Ajju, Putta, open your eyes, nothing happened you are alright, I am here.” When opened my eyes saw that was Sarvesh, he was holding me in his arms, Viswa took my shoes off and he was rubbing my legs, somebody spraying water over my face and lots of crowd. I was motionless not able to move any part of my body. When they started to take me into the vehicle to hospital that time, the places where ever they were holding it was badly hurt and paining. My shoulder was motionless. Somehow with the help of six people I was carried into the vehicle and taken to the hospital. In the hospital, only I knew the language Sarvya and Viswa were not able to explain clearly to the nurses. Three Nurses were attending me and good thing after sometime I was back to normal and could speak and explained them the incident and pain. After that burning sensation of cleaning the wounds Mr. Krishna Kumar, Dr. at KHMS came to see and advised for arm and shoulder X-Ray. Others too came to see me as they got the news that I am at hospital. While going for X-ray Dattu’s comment “Welcome to the Group, now you are also an expert cyclist.”  J Yeah it was funny and made me smile again. After X-ray, results revealed, luckily result was negative. No fracture, but advised to wear arm sling for 2 days. After that came back to homestay where other people were eagerly waiting to see and know how I am now. As usual I said “Bindaas, I am too good.” That day I was very weak and not able to balance my weight. Thanks to Sarvesh and Viswa who were there with me through out and Vinay, Dattu for helping me with whatever I need. Rest everyone for their motivation J

Day three: No cycling for me. I was able to walk next day was big thing for me. I was in the vehicle, having only window view. Even Sarvesh didn’t ride, he was in the vehicle for that day. Ambeeresh Hercules was also retired hurt so he was riding Sarvesh’s trek. And I still feel I missed the best ride day of the trip. Route covering greenery, plantation, villages, and waterfall towards Berijam Lake. Got down from the vehicle and opted for a walk of 2 kms. Walking noticed such big trees, different bird’s sounds, village view from the top, freshness of that place was so refreshing. Just felt to be there only and keep feeling that freshness. Meanwhile our vehicle came and we started moving ahead. After having lunch in route we moved ahead towards lake. At the entrance of the forest our vehicle stopped as gate was closed only cycles could go ahead and everyone went inside the forest. We stayed at the entrance as decided but who stays idle in that kind of environment. J Myself, Sarvesh and driver Anna started walking inside the forest. After 20 minutes everyone returned back because we didn’t have permission to go via forest. Forest officer came and advised us not to venture inside as it is extremely dangerous to go via cycle. Except lion rest all animals are here. So now again time was to go back to homestay, eat and sleep.

Day four: Nothing thrills anyone than riding downhill. This time Dattu, Rudra and I were in the vehicle and rest everyone started riding. After finishing ride by noon everyone assembled at common point started boarding cycles to be back to Bangalore. After taking fun videos and photos to tease and pull each other’s leg all were back on landing gear. Some snoring, listening to music, messaging, singing, cracking jokesJ It was one of the wonderful groups where everyone was getting mingled and they were supportive too. I must say organizers were too good, helpful and made us to have yummy and tummy full food on all days. J

Though I missed disturbing many people, missed beautiful ride and fun of next two days I still had fun with the group on silent mode. Will make sure I do remaining things in my future trips if I am not getting retired hurt. Well Kodaikanal made me now a certified cyclist. J J

Cheers!!! J J J