Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ride Story: Rameswaram-Munnar-Chennai

So...another ride..another story is here. I would like to call this one as the year ending ride. I was already itching to ride since it had been quite a while after my Ride to Kolli Hills.This ended up being my longest ride so far and I am happy about it. I always wanted to ride to Pamban Bridge, Rameswaram because the fact that it’s surrounded by sea all around always attracted me. This time I had 3-4 days in hand so I thought I can add one more place in this ride plan. I was thinking of Kanyakumari first but then I thought it will be too much of ocean lol. I ended up adding Munnar, Kerala to my plan because when I saw the pictures of Munnar and read other ride stories, I couldn’t stop myself. Also because this was about 345km from Rameswaram which was easily doable in one day. So after abusing Google Maps for a while, this is what my route map looked like:

After that I had to plan the timings across the route so that I stick to a target speed and time of reaching the destination. I think it is important to plan the timings on a long ride so that you know you are going on the right track and will reach on time to your destination. So the plan was to ride to Rameswaram on day 1, to Munnar on day 2, and back to Chennai on day 3. And this is what the ride plan I came up with:

And..the curves on Day 2 will be:

One good thing I did this time was to keep a track of the time and kilometers I am doing during the ride. I carried a pen and the ride plan sheet with me and noted down the time I was doing. This will help others reading this story who want to do this ride.

Also, there are a lot …a lot many pictures this time! All the pics are clicked from Moto G2. No editing done on the pictures (click on the pics to enlarge).

25th December, Day 1:

I knew I had to start early and I am glad I was able to stick to the plan. I started from home at 4:45am. I had considered the time to next destination on a very high side and I knew I will be able to do much faster timings. So as per the plan I considered 64 km to Chengalpattu in 1.5 hours where as I actually did it in 1 hour. So that way I did good timings throughout the ride.

Sunrise on the road:

The only thing I do not plan is the time to eat on a ride however I make sure that I keep drinking water at regular intervals because staying hydrated is important. So the ride started brilliantly with me doing good speeds on the smooth roads. However I did a mistake. After crossing Thindivanam, I came inside on state highways whereas I should have stuck to NH45 until Thanjavur at least and then I should have come to Pudukottai on state highways. Mistake because the road was in conditions till Pudukottai and honestly I won’t say it was a treat to ride on those roads. Anyways after riding for 238km at a stretch I stopped for breakfast at 8:40am  and Thanjavur was 90km from there. Some village men started checking my bike out and asked if it was a race bike and all sort of questions. One of them said it looks beautiful and I smiled at him. I have learnt that we have to be polite to the people!

After Pudukottai the roads were brilliant and butter smooth which increased my average speed.

At Pudukottai I spotted a lot of roadside shops which were cleaning cashews and selling after roasting them. I bought a few.

Came across this beautiful place after a while near Karaikudi

So at 1:20pm I stopped for lunch at this place near Devipattinam.

Again after this the roads were just great and after Pudukottai I was really enjoying the ride. About 30 mins after I resumed riding after lunch, I felt that if I did not take a break I might fall asleep on the bike. So stopped for about 15 mins at this green place to take rest.

Felt much better after the needed break and I was back on the bike and soon I started feeling the wind and breeze of the ocean as I was riding towards the Pamban Bridge. Not much later it was visible too. I had stopped to click some pics and few guys came in a car and started asking about my bike and if I was racing or something. Again I had to tell that I am not from a race and just on a leisure ride.


After lunch I rode about 138km and at 3:15pm I was on Pamban Bridge. This place is just beautiful. You are surrounded by ocean from both sides and the wind just refreshes you. Honestly I was not feeling tired at all after reaching here. Took some time to click some pics here:

And soon the train arrived!

After crossing Pamban Bridge:

So at 3:45 pm I entered Rameswaram which was much earlier than the plan of 6:00pm! I had plenty of time now. So I thought I can ride to Dhanuskodi today itself and this will reduce some kilometers from the ride the next day.

Road towards Dhanuskodi:

I didn’t know that in 1964 there had been a major cyclone at Dhanuskodi in which many people died including the ones in the train which fell in the ocean due to the cyclone! This memorial is built for them:

After reaching the Dhanuskodi beach, you can ride in the sand if you have got off-road tyres or you can take the Jeep to go towards the lands end about 8km far from the beach from where Sri Lanka is visible. I decided not to test my street tyres and relaxed at the beach for a while.

Also I noticed that it was cloudy so there was no point in waiting for the sunset. At 4:30pm I left Dhanushkodi and came back to Rameswaram at about 5:30 pm and started enquiring hotels/lodges for accommodation.

Bad luck! There was not a single place where I got a room to stay for the night. Apparently there was some religious god thing going on and truck and bus load of pilgrims had come from other towns to Rameswaram so there was no chance I would get an accommodation. One guy suggested that I go back to Ramanathapuram and I would get a room to stay there for sure and at a cheaper rate also. It was about 6:10 pm and already getting dark. But I had no choice other than riding 72km back to Ramanathapuram. It was dark now and the biggest threat on the road  became the high beams from cars. I kept riding slow and safe , stopped to clean the insects and dust off the helmet visor and riding at a steady 50-60kmph this time I reached Ramanathapuram at 7:30pm. I got a decent accommodation at a lodge and had dinner at this duplicate KFC joint lol

It also meant that I had further reduced about 75km from my ride on next day. I decided I need not start very early the next day.

Day1: 671km, riding time: 15 hours

26th December, Day 2:

I left the lodge at 8:30 am and I knew that today I have plenty of time since fewer miles to cover. The roads from Ramanathapuram were really good and because I had time I could make more stops to click pics of the beauty around.

As I was clicking pics this guy comes and asks me to help with the load. He was carrying so much load on his bike he was barely able to see ahead! Asked him to at least wear a helmet as I clicked his pic:

Reached Madurai at 9:15am to spot this beautiful temple:

Breakfast (9:30am)

The roads were again just too good to ride and it reminded me of the curves of the East Coast Road to Pondicherry. Thankfully the weather was also great which made the experience even better.

Spotted windmills:

Madurai to Theni the roads are very green and once I reached Theni I got stuck in the city traffic for some time and after crossing Bodianakanur , Munnar was about 60km away and I could feel by the wind that the hills are close. Time to ride on the hill roads then which means lot of curves but at a slow speed.

Wasn’t too late that I started spotting clouds while riding uphill:

From this point onwards I was riding very slow and took time to enjoy the beauty around and click pics. Faced a road block which was being cleared. Don’t forget to check out the huge rock being thrown away like a piece of paper in the video:

Clouds again

The road uphill towards Munnar is also in mixed condition. Lot of road construction work is going on and you have to be careful and ride slow on these roads. The road leading to Munnar is so green you feel as if you riding in a jungle. I stopped for a while to drink water and could hear the sounds of birds and insects which made me feel very close to the nature. This was a good experience and made me happy. 

But the best was  yet to come.

At the sight of the tea plantation all around, I literally laughed with joy. Just enjoy the pics to know what I am talking about :

Such smooth and curvy roads I didn’t even cross 50kmph and was totally enjoying this experience. It was cold so green all around! Spotted a lake !

Went a little off road to take these pics below:

This guy wanted to sit on my bike and take a picture. These guys rode from Chennai on a Splendor, without a helmet or even shoes, leave alone the riding gear. Appreciate the spirit but not the stupidity.

Once again, idhu race bike ah? Illa sir normal bike.

Look at this beauty!

I was climbing uphill and soon nothing was visible was I looked down:

And now I was riding among the clouds :

More pics of the beauty around:

I reached Munnar top at about 2:15pm riding slow and enjoying the nature around. I thought I should fix the accommodation first before doing something else and I faced the same problem again. No accommodation because Christmas/New years. The ones available were too expensive. However I talked one guy out to provide me a room for a night at a decent rate and so I was relieved. But he asked me to come at 5:30pm that means I had to roam around. Asked him of the places nearby to see and he said I can go to Atoka Waterfalls about 8km away.

More narrow curves towards these falls and soon I reached the falls at about 3pm.

There was a tea shop at this point and I thought this will be the best place to relax and kill some time.

Look at the patterns formed on the rocks by water.

These three guys came and just lied down on the rock and started taking pics. It seemed that they didn’t know any other pose. One of them asked me where I am going next after the water falls. I said I don’t know. He was surprised that I wasn’t here for sight-seeing.

On my way back I purchased some tea!

Checked-in the hotel at 5:45pm that means no riding today after this. I changed and took rest in the room for a while and then came out for a walk. Bought homemade chocolates

Some pics of the town

Delicious dinner!

Back to room and I cleaned my helmet visor again. MucOff is just too good and I strongly recommend it for all the riders! Look at the shine:

This was such a good day in terms of riding and I was really happy that I came to Munnar. Slept early and found myself awake at 2am. Wow, couldn’t sleep until 4am. I had to start early the next day as many kilometers to cover, and…

Day 2: 306km, riding time: 9 hours.

27th December, Day 3:

 ..and…I woke up at 7:00am :/. Left the hotel at 7:30 am in hurry wasn’t really happy with myself for waking up late. Anyways because of the hill road I was covering 30km in one hour and this is the max you can do on hill roads. However the beauty around changed my mood very soon. I knew I can’t stop much today to take more pics but I couldn’t resist myself to click some…enjoy the pics:

As I was coming down the hills towards Mayoor I rode across Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. I was asked by the guards not to stop anywhere for next 60km and to limit my speed to 30kmph.

Still, I stopped at one place to click this picture on my right,

And a wild boar on my left

And.. a crocodile chilling!

I crossed the wildlife sanctuary and I found straight roads. How I missed the straights! I was actually happy to be on these smooth roads again because I could now ride fast to make up for the lost time. I was riding at 120-130 kmph on the beautiful smooth roads after Udumalpet. Stopped for coffee at about 10:15am and I still had not reached Avinashi(45km away) which I was supposed to reach at 10am. By the way the coffee was very good.

This return route I took to Chennai is slightly longer but faster as its only on the national highways. I missed a signboard and went inside Tirupur city and got stuck in traffic. However came out quickly and back to NH47 towards Erode after crossing Avinashi. I was running late!

I stopped for lunch at about 1:30pm and Chennai was 380 km away from this point. It was only smooth riding on the smooth highways now. That means I could easily do 130-135kmph throughout which I had to reach on time and reach home before it got dark. Nobody likes to ride in the dark, may be some people do but I don’t.

At 2:20pm, Chennai was 355km away.
At 3:20pm, Chennai was 159km away.
At 3:50pm, Chennai was 100km away.
At 5:30pm, Chennai was....I reached home! Good timing done!

Day 3: 670km , riding time: 10 hours.

Total ride: 671+306+670= 1647km

Now about the bike. I am so happy that made a decision to buy a Duke 390. Didn’t give any problems at all. This bike is so reliable that on any given day you can start the bike and go on a long ride without having to worry about even a clutch cable breaking. This reliability is all want in a motorcycle and of course the ability to do good speeds throughout the day. More respect for this machine now.

Also the Viaterra Velox, motorcycling luggage solution only for Duke bikes made carrying stuff on the ride so easy. This one bag from the set carried one water bottle,1 jeans, 1 t shirt, one rain liner, one sweat shirt, inner wears, chocolate box, tea packets, small towel, muc off cleaning kit, and a rain cover for the bag itself!

Riding to Rameswaram I always wanted but I would easily call Munnar as the highlight of this ride.

Overall, I am happy that I was able to go for this ride. I have also realized after this ride that the best time to do what you want is right now… and with our busy life and schedules, tomorrow never comes. It just takes a split second to make the decision of actually doing what you want and postponing it to tomorrow. Next year, more places to see, more roads to ride on….I close the year with this.

One problem a solo rider like me faces is that there is no body to click my pictures :P. But that doesn't mean I can't click a selfie 

Please leave any..just any comments you have !


  1. Sounds like an amazing experience... M envious:))

  2. Very well written and beautiful photos! Could imagine the fun you had :) Haven't seen these places yet, will do soon.

    1. Thanks Akhil ! These words from you mean a lot!