Exploring the less explored.1700kms road trip on our bikes Kawasaki N1K and Royal Enfield Himalayan(Laurel and Hardy)
As usual back from ship, nothing to do .. Switched on the idiot box.. flipped through various movie apps and subscriptions, killed time just trying to find the right movie and one eye on various hopeless tv shows running round the clock and chaotic news channels made staying at home more stressful than sailing …and also baby sitting while wife was out working.
Kaza was in mind and plans were already charted out but last minute,my redbulll (Red Ford Endeavour) managed to develop an electrical snag which resulted in calling off our Kaza snow drive.Various other commitments too made this trip impossible.Just then, my cousin wanted a break and asked to plan a ride.Me as usual lazy , asked him shall we do the Statue of unity and Rann of Kutch ? He was like, what about much shorter distance-Valparai..
Next few days researched about Valparai and found it quite interesting Weather was perfect too.Having all set and there was sudden unrest in the Mangalore city coz of those CAB/CAA protests and curfew was imposed for 48 hours and internet too was banned.Called up a nearby police station and enquired whether I can depart Mangalore, for which they replied ..leave early with all docs in order. Without wasting any time, I hurried up and got my luggage mounted on the bike and left Mangalore to Bangalore (Dec 21st).. where I would be connecting with my cousin.
Reaching Bangalore,halted at cousins place and early morning (Dec 22nd) departed Bangalore keeping in mind silk board and Hosur traffic. Too much traffic made riding bit stressful and ride was getting delayed.Our plan was to ride nonstop to Valparai (Some 470 kms/10 hours) and look for accomodation there (for 22nd night) as our accomodation was pre booked for 23rd at one Briar group cottage.
As we reached coimbatore all tired ,around 2pm, we decided to crash at Coimbatore as we felt riding up the Anamalai forest range would be stressful and would leave us very less time on the hills.Our main intention of this ride was to experience this Anamalai tiger reserve and those magnificent 40 hairpin bends.So decided to halt at coimbatore.Booked a hotel nearby(Gokulam Park) and spent our evening visiting the giant Adiyogi statue (Shiva bust) which was located at an hours ride from our hotel(50 kms). Lukily it was a sunday and there was lazer show exhibited on the bust. We were just lucky to witness the spectacular creation.Place was enthralling and mesmerising.The vibe it had has to be felt there only, cannot be described here.
Our decision to stay back at Coimbatore worked very well.Enjoyed our stay at the hotel and after heavy bf, we left hotel at 8am. Coimbatore Valparai is around 120 kms and takes 4 hours.
Valparai borders TN and KL. Surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful tea plantations. Place has not been given tourism importance, though it nears Munnar which is very populated during this season. One has to pass couple of forest reserves to reach Valparai. In our case Anamalai forest reserve, if travelling via Coimbatore /Polacchi. There are restrictions in timings too (checkpost opens at 7am) and if any wild animals movements are seen, then the checkpost bans entry of bikes too)
Polacchi to Valparai is riders paradise with close to 40 hairpin bends and fantastic vistas of Annamali hills (Western Ghats).
People usually frequent animals like lion tail macaques, elephants, tigers, leapords, nilgiri thars, wild boars, bisons and barking deers and snakes.
There have been lot of incidences of wild animals attack and many routes have restrictions and also many estate bungalows don’t allow their customers to travel after 7pm.We ourself found Nilgiri thar and Lion Tail Macaques dashing towards our bikes.
Being the Christmas season , finding good accommodation was pain…made several calls and finally was able to secure accommodation at one tea estate bungalows managed by Briar group.It was a wooden chalet.Lot of other players like TATA,BPTC,PARRYS,SINNA DORAI got their estates and bungalows.
More than the Valparai , its the route which fascinated me .Those scary hairpins(Serpentines), lush green forest, the pure inline symphony echoiing from the heart of the ninja 1000 trying to sync with the subtle thumps of the REH was treat to our ears.
The place is surrounded by lot of waterfalls and dams. One can visit paying nominal entry charges. There are elephant camps and Topslip resorts Enroute.
Our main intention was to ride this route till the Valparai end and experience the fresh air.
Whole hill is influenced by British architecture, one can witness Carver Marsh statue in one of the hairpin bends who is considered a Poineer English planter and designer of Valparai.
After spending a night at Valparai ,we departed next day noon to Mysore via Satyamangalam forest (27 hairpins).Witnessed heavy truck traffic. Halted at our relatives place in Mysore and next day on Christmas day I left for Mangalore and cousin to Bangalore.
Anamalai Tiger reserve ride video GoPro Footage: