Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Big Escapade

Been on a big ride of 175 days and 25508 KMs.

The track has been...
BigEscapade at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: Geotagging Community


As i sit at the southern tip of India, naively imitating Swamy Vivekananda, a mix of emotions rush to my mind. Sense of achievement, euphoria, disbelief and despair. Despair cos its all going to end soon. Thrilled at playing back my entire journey so for, in my mind. The places i have been, the people i have met, the experiences i have gained. All this feeling the cool breeze from the Indian Ocean i am staring at. Been more then 170 days on the move, living a nomadic travelers life on my Karizma. Across India, Bhutan and Nepal. It all sums up to one thing that i was happy at that moment.

On the way to beach in Kanyakumari, visited the museum on Swamy Vivekananda. His great journey across India was depicted there. He was short of money to pay for the boat man to take him to the now Vivekananda rock. He jumped into the strong waters and swam across to the rock. Spent quite some time there contemplating his journey so far. I felt right to do that myself too. Though i did not swim across to the rock, it was nonetheless great introspecting my travel so far.

It all began with suggestion and encouragement from my friend. Who recognized that i had not many bondages or commitments. Had my own share of disillusionment of this world due to some events. I could go on a big escapade away from my regular life. In what bettor way then riding away on my Karizma, which i love to do. Felt just right and din know what else to do other than this, in life at that point of time. My friend also gave me an high level itinerary.

The general far fetched idea being an all India ride, did some planning with my friends, though i was mostly passive on the route. Initially it was supposed to be a clock wise ride around India. Since i was not sure of how long i would last on the road and how long things would permit me, we decided it would be counter clock wise. So that i could ride out places i had not visited first. East coast, Bhutan, North East, Nepal, Ladakh and West coast was the basic itinerary. It was all wish full thinking at that time. The only fail safe being if something unfortunate happens, dump the bike at a transporter and fly home.

My friend helped me out with lot of ideas for the journey including the idea of geting custom fabricated panniers made. Took like 2 weeks to get that done in parts with four different parties. Shopped a lot, GPS phone for tracking and Laptop for logging among other things. In a months time i was ready to hit the road.

The day i was to start, had a small walk with my dad who had to let me go being unconvinced. The first thing i felt pushing the bike of the stand was, boy has it become monster with all the load. Did give me scares. My friend came to see me off and i started riding out of Bangalore crossing the city in the peak traffic. Soon i was riding away on the Kolar NH with Destination Unknown. With no idea of how long i will be able to continue on the trip. Its was Vijayvada for the day as i wanted to go out of my normal touring radius. Thus i was moving towards the east coast. Visiting places which i had only heard of. Vishakapattanam was quite a place especially on the beach road and made for a good day's halt with a lot of places to check out. Continued upwards on the east coast, stayed and visited places like Bhuvaneshwar, Puri, Konark and Chilika Lake. The sun temple at Konark was fascinating relic though a bit explicit in carvings. An evening on the Puri's beach was like a bliss. Crossing a couple of states i was still able to communicate in local language which helped me a lot. Telugu is my mother tongue and i could speak a some bengali which meant am kind of at home all through the east coast as for a language is concerned. Got off the NH 5 and settled in for a night at Digha, a coastel town, with cement beach! Had a nice ride on the very hard flat beach on my Karizma, before heading for Koltata. Took an off beat route crossing the Hoogli river by a ferry. Interior west bengal is thickly populated and its always dodging the traffic on my overgrown bike. Make it to Kolkata the City of Joy in 12 days. My father comes around for a visit and its couple of days break there. Here on the journey ahead had lot of uncertainty as lot less people travel around here on motorcycles. It was a gamble riding to Sunderbans and even had to sail over to an island on a small boat meant for people, along with my bike. Luckily found a place to park my bike and had couple of nights stay at Sajnekhali Wild life resort. Well no luck with a tiger spotting on a whole day's boat ride, but for couple of trails of day old pug marks.

So far so good and Bhutan was next on the itinerary. Hopping over Siliguri, Entered the Royal kingdom of Bhutan, and put up at PheountSholing. Its a border town along with an Indian town Jaigon. The two towns separated by a wall could not be any different. Felt the sense of freedom and security walking around in night, where i was always on the alert on the east coast India. Could get sim cards for 20 Rs and immediately activated on the go! Permits was time consuming and also needed a call from Indian embassy to get things going. Ride ahead on my first international road trip to explore the Himalayan country. Had couple of days of holdup due to a landslide, before reaching Thimpu. It was so very developed and felt like i was in a European town. Very nice and polite people around here but i guess there are always exceptions as my phone got mugged here of all the places. Statistics makes no sense i guess. Well have to move on. Rode around the Paro airport, the only one in Bhutan, to visit Takshakt Geomba also known as Tiger's nest, Perched on the side of a sheer cliff face. East of Thimpu i could see not much development. It was just miles and miles of winding mountain roads and a small towns on the way. Could ride for hours and still be in the same geographical area. But whose complaining as those were beautiful riding days on the mesmorising country side of Bhutan. The Himalayan mountains were on the greener side with highest pass around 3700 meters and any higher would need trekking. Loved taking breaks and gazing at the valleys and mountain ranges. After 10 days and 1400 Kms traveling in Bhutan, I exited at the Samdrup Jongkhar town bordering Assam state of India.

All of a sudden a sense of insecurity grips me. Such a transformation coming from the safe haven of Bhutan. Most had advised me against traveling North East India but for my co conspirators of this trip. Added to that there was serial bomb blasts a couple of days before i reached Guwahati. Had seen only a couple of triplogs on net of people traveling this region on motorcycles and cycles. I was in contact with them and they were kind enough to guide me around over phone. I would be lying if i said i wasn't scared. Riding towards Guwahati, keep seeing these boards by Military, advising against terrorism. Lucky that a friend of mine from collages days was from here and i put up at his parent's place. This was comforting and i could think straight. Visiting Arunachal Pradesh was first on the cards but the permits were not available for couple of days. Thus i moved down to Meghalaya and stayed in Cherrapunjee for a night, riding over the ridge of a picturesque valley. It was a bit funny cos i had wore all my rain gear when i entered the second most wettest place in the world and it was bone dry! What do you know it does not rain for four months here! Its surprising how in this modern age of Internet many things we learn by going to actual places. The places and villages and people felt really strange and the only way i can express is that it felt strange. Lot of places to visit around there, including a long hard trek to check out the amazing living root bridges. Back to Shilong for a couple of days rest and permits for states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal.

From there on i am supposed to be riding in troubled areas as i move in to Tripura. Never thought i would be riding in these states. People not really vella and i had meal for like 5 rupees. There were even military escorted convoys to get to Agartala the capital of Tripura. Some how i was allowed with out the convoy. Guessed the trouble makers would not be interested in a single bike. Was hosted by an police Inspector in Agaratala for lunch. Nothing like a home cooked meal to energize. Stayed near Neer Mahal, the lake palace for a night. Its first rains of the season as in head east to Mizoram. My idea of riding through an interior route to Aizwal, the capital, got foiled by rain. Had to stay at

Mizoram border town khanmun's guest house, nestled in forest kind of place. Had to back track and take the horrid route via Silchar. Entering the hilly state, the difference between the neighbouring state of Tripura was very evident. For a change i see lots and lots of Karizmas and many new bikes there. Aizwal was perched on steep hills with hardly any buildings and households on flat ground. The rear of these structures were supported by couple of stories high stilts. Spent a nice evening there with a local bullet group who came to visit me. Had a chance to visit a lake inside burma. But that would have been a three day trip with bad roads and rains. Mizoram was very safe and there are no sign of trouble. But next up was Manipur, where there are atleast 30 active militant groups even now. Most people advised me to avoid Manipur. Took confidence from cyclists who had toured manipur and went ahead. Again rain was spoil sport here as i attempted to ride to Imphal via the Natorious NH 150 also know as Tipaimukh Highway. But the attempt was enough to give me shivers riding into deep narrow forest road. Any way came back to Aizwal and took the Silchar route to Manipur. Heavy military presence in this state. Lot of soldiers patrolling the highways. Was even hosted by a Assam Rifals camp for a night. Was lucky enough to have a glimpse at how soldiers in action live. The Major, my host also gave me a good insight of the state of affairs in the troubled state. Made it to Imphal the capital the next day. Guess that is the only city in the state. Kohima was next up and i was out of Manipur with no trouble at all but for heavy rains. Sad that such a beautiful hilly state is in turmoil. Not yet breathing easy as i just entered Nagaland. Again contrary to all i have heard about this state, it was a peaceful ride and stay actually.

Exited Nagaland from Dimapur and headed straight to Kaziranga National park. Spotted lot of One Horned Rhinos on a fantastic early morning elephant ride. It was time to head north into Arunachal Pradesh. Since monsoons were approaching fast i decided to skip exploring eastern Arunachal as rains are supposed to be deadly around here. So Tavang was the only place i felt feasible. Got permits in Tezpur and soon i was crossing over the Misty Sela pass to reach Tavang. Thanks to suggestion of my friends and a veteran motorcyclist's article in , i went straight to DC office and then to Mountain Brigade to secure the permit to Visit Bum La, a disputed border mountain pass between India and China. The next day was luckily of clear weather and gave a window to attempting the pass. Had to get clearance by 3-4 check posts before i could proceed. It was tough, especially a some meters of incline on rounded stones. But it was rewarding atop Bum La. Was hosted well by the Sikh Regiment stationed there at the Border personnel meeting hut. Then it was kind of escape for Arunachal as i had to ride out terrible rains to get back to Assam. Looks like my North East leg is over and i head to Sikkim after a couple of day's rest in Guvahati.

Reaching Gangtok, i was suddenly in a tourist region. Looks like 'dangerous' part of the trip is over and from then on it was in safe touristy places. Well i could breath a sigh relief. Loved Sikkim and a couple of days of party at Gangtok was great to unwind with out worries of safety. With some hard work at getting permits, visited Nathu La, the trade border pass between India and China. Felt great to be there. It was time to head north and the rest of the Sikkim ride was mindbogglingly beautiful. Plenty of waterfalls around. ChungTong is a point of Y fork and i had a awesome rides to Zero point and Gurdongmor lake on either side of the fork. The bright blue Lake being at an altitude of 17000 feet. First time i get the taste of riding wide open high altitude places of himalayas. The development in north sikkim was hardly any thing compared to south. Had troubles with basic needs of phone coverage and petrol. Had to barrow some as well. Couple of landslides and fuel shortage made sure that i would spend a night at police check post in the middle of no where. But loved every moment of all this. Spent a day at Pelling gazing over the Majestic Kanchanjunga mountain range. Then ride out of Sikkim into Darjeeling to experience the famous toy train.

Before i realized i was out of country again, this time i entered Nepal via Pashupathi nagar border town. There was some political turmoil in Nepal just a week back and i was advised not to get there. But contrary to news on TV, things were peaceful here. Nepal is not all hilly as its got lot of plains south of Nepal with the Mahendra Raj Highway being life line. Crossed over the Kosi river and reached Kathmandu, which would be my base in Nepal for some time. It had been almost 3 months into my trip and my father came over to visit me. That was a great couple of days spent with him before he left to Bangalore, wishing me luck. It is crowded in Kathmandu. But the tourist area Thamel is quite a happening spot for chilling out. Do a couple of days ride to north of Nepal to the Kodari border town with China. It was full of activity at the border. A little south and rode more of the beautiful countryside till Jiri. The plains and hilly regions of Nepal are as different as they can be. Thought heading west but being encouraged by my friend, took a flight to Lukla. So that, with a couple of day's trek, could get a glimpse of Mt. Everest! There are no roads here so had to resort to flight and trek. Since i dont do trekking, was very skeptical in what i was getting myself into. After couple of hard days of trekking, was blessed with a clear day and there i spot the Mt Everest. Almost head back, but got tempted to go ahead till the Base camp, self motivating all the way. It was tough days, having to deal with AMS and long walks, but it was very very rewarding reaching the Everest base camp and Scaling Kala Patter to view Everest as closely as possible by non professional. Felt the sense of achievement and it was time to get back on the road heading west.

After the triumph there was a set back. A kid ran onto the road from behind a parked truck and got hit by my bike. Next two and half days were nerves uncertain days spent being a forced guest at a police station. Luckily the kid was ok to be discharged from the hospital and i was free after paying the hospital bills! That was an experience too. Made it to Pokhara and settled a the calm lakeside are around Pheva lake, a haven for tourists. Fantastic place to unwind and freak out. Before heading south to India, thought of taking couple of days ride to Muktinath, which turned out to be a very tough offroad ride for two days. Was awesome place to visit but the horrid paths and couple of bike spills took a toll on my health and lost it big time in Pokhara with stomach Infection. After 3 days of no improvement, trusting that riding would heal me started uncertainly towards India heading south. And i did get bettor!

Varanasi, one of the holiest places of Hinduism was the reason for detour away from Himalayas. It was the hottest temperatures i have ever ridden, touching 46 degrees. Spent a day at Varanasi having a boat ride looking at all the Ghats, visiting the Kashi Vishvanath temple and also witnessed the great Aarthi ceremony held everyday evening on the banks of Ganges. It as hot as hell and was time to get back to the hills of Uttaranchal and Uttarakhand. It was a few days of beautiful peaceful country side ride in these states and nice stay at Almora. Rode all the way to Badrinath. Had more places in mind to visit but it was all cloudy and misty in the hills and could not gaze on the mountain ranges. So it was time to move on.

Step by step i had rode through many legs of the journey and still found myself and the bike going strong. Yeah i had to deal with increasing backache. But i was still good to go. Stop over in Dehradun for a couple of days hosted by a very good senior Doctor, who was kind enough to drive me to Rikesh and Haridwar. It was time to get into my final leg of journey before heading home. This part was my dream from 4 years and yes it was Ladakh. Thought of riding the circuit clock wise so i would be gaining altitude slowly. Did not want to deal with AMS like i had to in Nepal.

It was unreal looking the 'Welcome to J&K' board as i rode into the state. Finally i was on my way to Ladakh. Crossing the Javahar tunnel, Kashmir valley welcomed me. Dal lake are in Srinagar was a fantastic place i spent a couple of days. The relaxing shikara boat rides are a thing to remember. Ride out to Gulmarg and found the place well deserved its name. The slopes covered in white with flowers.

With disturbance in Srinagar, moved on and stayed at Sonamarg in a Tent. The beautiful of Himalayas yet again apparent. Crossed the tough Zozi La which lifted me into Ladakh. Made it to Kargil and decided to ride out the Zanskar valley. First time in the trip i needed to carry extra fuel with me. This was a long detour with hardly any roads. The offroad path riddled with stream crossing were tough especially in the evenings. Being the peak of summer, the snow melt streams are quite heavy. Other than that, the Suru and Zanskaar valley were beautiful places to ride. Felt every thing the eye could see was mine as there was hardly any one for miles together. Got to gaze at Parkachik and Diran Durung Glaciers. Both of them came up as a surprise as i naively hadn't made any home work. Back tracked to Kargil and it was time to get Leh'd. Finally i am there in Leh crossing over a couple of passes and unworldly landscape. Took a couple of days rest as a breather.

Nobra valley ride for 3 days was very relaxing and pleasant, with weather blessing me with some sunlight. Scaled the Khardung La, officially world's highest motorable road. Finally i got to get my picture on with the board with my bike. Every day's ride in the himalayas has something different to offer. Checked out the Hunder sand dunes, panamic and on the return tried out Wari La. This was the less traveled path and isolated. It was just beautiful out there feeling the magnitude of the mountains. Had to some tricky obstacles to cross and made it at the end of the day and back to Leh. Since i had time in had, wanted to explore eastern Ladakh and sketched out a circuit. Very less first hand info available as few ride these regions some closed to foreign tourists. Stayed at the bank of the famous high altitude Pangong lake. Since i could not find any company gave a try and was successful in scaling Marsimek La, solo. Felt unreal to be there at the place i used to dream of. Continued east and rode along the LAC with China. It was mind blowing experience with all the isolation, wide open spaces till the eye could see. The uncertainty of path as i just had tire tracks to follow. The warm reception and hospitality of soldiers posted in these remote places was touching. Salutes to them for dedicating their lives so that we could have our way of life. Reached Hanle, one of the villages in eastern most Ladhak. With hardly any arrangements for tourists, had a home stay. Also had a tour of the Observatory there. Heading west towards Nyoma, the landscape was unbelievable with colorful mountains. The beautiful blue Tso Moriri was a bit hard to reach with some rough path, but in the end it was worth all the effort. Reached Leh with satisfaction and there was only one direction now. Its South.

Heading out of Leh was already in the direction of Home after months of wandering. Ladakh was not yet over as i had to cross many passes like Tanglang La, Baralach La and finally Rothan Pass before reaching Manali. Climbing down Rothang was very though with all the slush and bad weather. Made it to Delhi the next day. Pretty happy at having a relaxed tour of one month in J & K. Was hosted by a friend in Delhi, met many friends in Delhi. It was the hottest and most humid place in my entire trip! Ofcourse would not leave the capital without visiting India gate.

The ride down was through Rajasthan. Explored the city of Jodhpur before heading south into Maharastra. Swine flu was the headlines as i entered pune and again another news i found over hyped by media as i spent couple of days with my friends. Explored a bit of Maharashtra by visiting Mahabaleshwar, panchgani and Thoseghar. The western ghats as always was best to travel in monsoon. Then rolled into karnataka after 5 months. Relaxed a day at Goa and Bijapur with relatives. Kanyakumari was the target before i actually ride towards home. Caught the west coast from Mangalore and headed south. Was quite an adrenalin experience riding in the fast paced crowded highways of Kerala. Finally made it from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Wanted to check out some ancient temples in Tamil Nadu, and with trip almost at end, faced break down of my bike. Lucky that i was near Trichy and was able to get the bike fixed there. Visited the Srirangam temple, and the Big temple at Tanjavur, before reaching Chennai.

Like all good things this trip had to come to an end and made it to Bangalore after almost 6 months on the move. My father relieved to see me back and congratulated me on the achievement.

My companion, the HeroHonda Karizma behaved flawlessly, till the only break down almost at the end of the trip. Braved all the rough terrains, distances, altitudes and weather extremities with me and ran for thousands of Kms just on oil changes. The maintenance was only replacement of consumables like disk pads and chain sprocket sets.

To give numbers, the trip was of 25,508 Kms spanning over 175 days and 3 countries. Which i never thought would be the case when i started out. Thanks to friends all over the country who helped me out with info and logistics, was able continue the trip comfortably.

We never really know what we are capable of till we actually give it a try. Now when i look back on those days every thing looks so unreal. I can still remember each day of the trip and will never forget i guess. In they end they are memories of life time.

Here are the Links to the Logs of the Days...

Article in 'Bike India'

An article on this trip has been published in Bike India magazine, Dec 2009 Issue.

Click on the picture for online issue teaser...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stuff i took along

Eicher Road Map book
Lonely planet book
Tissue papers
Copies of permits.
Laptop along with Wireless modem In a cusion cover
The above rolled in thick track pant went in a thick plastic cover
Laptop charger
Camera charger
2 Phone chargers
2 phone data cables
2 Spare helmet visors
cotton pack
Insulation tape
Multiplug socket
3 pin to 2 pin converter socket
Nose plier
Wire cutter/Sleav'er
A length of electric wire
Bank account Cheque book
Small medicine kit
LED torch
spare torch batteries
nail cutter
2 pens
Liquid Mosquito Repellent.

Left Pannier:
Electric air pump
Spare tube
Duck tape
Puncture Kit:
Rod Livers to pull out the tire
Rubber patches
Gum to stick patches to the tube
Left Saddle bag:
Force tool kit
Puncture sealant
Maps and travel guide books
Spare Thicker gloves
One set thermals
Neck support
A set of casual dress
Rain suit

Right pannier:
Water heater rod
Camera tripod
Right Saddle bag:
Spanner set
Spare Motorcycle jacket
2 Family photo albums
Shoes gaiters
Bike Spares:
clutch and front break livers
Clutch and accelerator cables
Chain tensioner
Gear liver
Disk pads 2
Bulbs 2

Back pack on rear seat:
2 pants
3 shirts
3 sets of undies
3 pairs of sox
2 towels
1 t shirt
1 bermuda
1 pair of slippers
1 Pajama
Electric Heating pad
Another medicine kit
Zip tie strips
Spare bike keys

The back pack strapped by a bungee net
Same net holds two water bottles
Plastic cover over the above
Another bungee net to secure the plastic cover

Stuff in Medicine kit:
Band aids all sizes
Tabs for Cold, Antibiotics, Loose motion, Headache, fever, body pain, AMS, Acidity.
Antacid tabs and Lorenzes
Nasel drops
Iodex Balm
Moov Pain relief spray
Vicks vaporub
Pain relief gel
Glucose powder packet

Stuff in Toiletries:
Shampoo sachets
Small hair bottle
Talcum power
Moisturizing cream
SPF sun block

What i wore:
A set of undies!
Cargo pant
formal shirt
Thick ankle high woodland shoes n sox!
Camera in a waist pouch
Knee pads inside pants
Motorcycle jacket
Riding gloves
Goggles (in jacket pocket or on the face)
Cell Phone with headphones in shirt pocket along with spare cash
In the pants pockets:
Right pocket: Wallet
Left pocket: Hankey, Lip balm, pen drive, coins
Left knee pocket : Documents for easy access
Passport, Bike RC book, Insurance, Driving/Riding License,
Photographs, permits.
Right Knee pocket: miscellaneous.

Stuff about panniers-
Custom made from Galvanized sheets.
A half centimeter cushion stuck inside and a black rexine leather stuck outside to reduce vibrations and metal flapping noise.

The caps open to the outside on both sides so that Cramster saddle bag can go in both the panniers. The idea is the let the saddle bag take most of the weight and the pannier be a metal cover carrying its own weight.

There are slits to the inside of the panniers to accommodate resting flap of the saddle bag, once the panniers are closed.

First mount point for the Right Pannier

Second mount point for Right pannier, resting on the silencer...

Looking inside, the nut screws right into the silencer...

Third mount point of Right pannier. A custome made metal tube in the place of Indicator socket.

First mount point of the Left pannier, Resting on Saree guard...

Second mount point of Left pannier. Metal fabricated piece welded to Saree guard and screwed to pannier...

Third mount point of Left pannier...

Since the Indicator socket is used up by the metal tubes to support the panniers and occupying its space, the Indicators move back and are fixed on the Number Plate.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Trip Stats

No of KMs = 25508.
No of days = 175.
Avg KMs per day = 145 KMs.

No of Riding days = 110.
No of Non Riding days = 65.
Avg KMs per Riding day = 232 KMs

Max Kms traveled in a day = 672 kms Day 1, Bangalore to Vijaywada.
Min Kms traveled in a day = 50 kms Day 173, Trichy to Tanjavur.

Total pictures Clicked = 11248
Avg pix clicked per day = 64

Trip cost
Total cost of the trip including initial preparation = 2,50,000 + Rs

The Breakup:
Preparation cost before trip = 30000 Rs (Approx)
Phone chareges including Internet for laptop = 20000 Rs (Approx)
Major Incidental Expences = 12000 Rs (Approx)
Miscellaneous expances = 10000 Rs (Approx)
Fuel cost = 45000 Rs (Approx : See below)
Hotel Stay cost = 57210 Rs (See below)
Bike Maintenance cost = 19650 Rs (See below)
Food cost = 55000 Rs (Approx)

The Avgs:

Avg cost of the trip per day = 1428 Rs
Cost During the trip = 220000 Rs
Avg Cost During the trip per day = 1257 Rs.
Avg Phone cost per day = 114 Rs
Avg Miscellaneous expenses per day = 57 Rs.
Avg food cost per day = 314 Rs.

Major Incidental Expences = 12000 Rs (Approx)
(Flights between kathmandu & Lukla 5000 Rs, Hospital charges for the kid 7000 Rs)

Total Fuel = 1000 Ltrs Approx (Assuming 25 kmpl)
Avg fuel consumption per day = 5.7 Ltrs
Avg fuel consumption per riding day = 9 Ltrs

Total Fuel cost = 45000 Approx
Avg fuel cost per day = 257 Rs
Avg fuel cost per riding day = 409 Rs.

Bike Spares
Rear tire 2 changes = 5800 Rs
Front tire 2 changes = 2550 Rs

Chain Sprocket sets 3 changes = 2400 Rs
Front disk pads 4 changes = 900 Rs

Bike Maintenance
Engine oil changes, Service and Breakdown with spares = 8000 Approx

Bike Maintenance including the above bike spares = 19650 Rs

Avg cost of Bike Maintenance per day = 112 Rs
Avg cost of Bike Maintenance per riding day = 179 Rs

Most expensive meal = 625 Rs Kathmandu
Least expensive meal = 5 Rs Tripura

Hotel Stay
No of Places stayed = 90
No of Hotels stayed = 80
No of Days stayed in Hotel = 134
No of Days stayed with Friends and Relatives = 40

Total cost of hotel stay = 57210 Rs
Avg cost of hotel stay per day = 427 Rs
Avg cost of hotel stay for the whole trip = 327 Rs
Most expensive stay = 2200 Rs at Auli Clifftop Hotel
Least expensive stay = 50 Rs at Budha Lodge Gorekshep

Following is the list of Hotel Stays and the room Rent. Its Amazing how i can remember the rent paid and almost all the hotel names. Did lookup for the names and rent for very few of them from the logs. Did forget hotel names at places.

Place Hotel No Of Nights Room Rent Per Day
Total cost
2 600 1200
Aruku Rajadhani 1 400 400
Bhuvaneshwar Bhuvaneshwar 1 400 400
Puri Samudra 2 700 1400
Digha SeaHawk 1 700 700
Dimond Harbour Sagarika 1 300 300
Sajnekhali Sajnakhali T L 2 700 1400
Siliguri Hill View 1 350 350
PheuntSholing Paradise 2 450 900
2 300 600
Thimpu Tandin 3 450 1350
Jakar River Lodge 1 500 500
1 200 200
Tashigang Druk 1 350 350
Cherrapunjee Cherrapunjee holiday resort 1 500 500
Shillong Prakash 4 450 1800
Kailasher Kailasher Tourist Lodge 1 300 300
Melaghar Sagarmahal 1 180 180
Khanmun Tourist Lodge 1 200 200
Aizwal Millennium 3 300 900
Jiribam Dream Land 1 100 100
Imphal Nirmala 1 550 550
Kohima Fira 1 350 350
Kaziranga Chikuni Guest house 2 650 1300
Bomdila Tourist Lodge 1 150 150
Tavang Dongphoo 3 500 1500
Tezpur Parijatha 1 300 300
Gangtok Kachan Residency 3 450 1350
Lachung Karzang 1 250 250
Lachen Lutong 1 350 350
Pelling Garuda 1 350 350
Darjeeling Grace Inn 2 300 600
Lahan Godhuli 1 405 405
Kathmandu Yanki 10 310 3100
1 100 100
Namche Bazar Yak 4 200 800
Tengboche Himalayan view 1 200 200
1 200 200
Dingboche Peace & Happiness 2 200 400
1 200 200
Gorakshep Buddha Lodge 1 50 50
Lukla Namaste 1 200 200
Pokhara Barahi 6 550 3300
Jomsom Xanadu 1 470 470
Gorakpur Prasident 1 450 450
Varanasi Temple on Ganges 2 625 1250
Luknow Inder Residency 2 500 1000
1 1000 1000
Almora Deodar 2 500 1000
Nandprayag Himalayan 1 300 300
Auli Cliff Top 1 2200 2200
Srikot Ram 1 350 350
1 550 550
Pathankot Vishal 1 500 500
Srinagar Aziz 3 550 1650
Sonamarg Tent 1 500 500
Kargil D'Zijila 2 650 1300
Rangdum HomeStay 2 400 800
Padam Tourist Lodge 1 200 200
Leh Mehak 7 440 3080
Diskit Sand dune Guest house 1 300 300
Surmur A.O. Guest house 1 250 250
Lukung Eco Huts 2 300 600
Chushul PWD Guest house 1 200 200
Hanle HomeStay 1 300 300
Karzok Nomadic Life 1 300 300
Pang Tent Dorm 1 200 200
Keylong TashiDeleg 1 600 600
Manali Devlok 1 400 400
Ajmer Haveli Heritage Inn 1 550 550
Mount Abu Ganesh 2 600 1200
Mahabaleshwar Prince Palace 1 500 500
Palolem Palolem Beach Resort 2 200 400
1 450 450
1 350 350
1 400 400
Kanyakumari TriSea 2 650 1300
Trichy SKV 2 250 500
Tanjavur Tamilnadu 1 650 650
Chennai Aspai 1 1125 1125

Other Numbers:
No of Sims used = 9
No of Sims lost = 7 :(

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 175 - Aug 30 - Chennai to Home (Bangalore)

Aug30 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community

333 KMs Tripmeter 25508 KMs

Its the home run today. Keeping fingers crossed. The final few steps is what can be tough and anxious. Feel bettor than yesterday morning. But the cold in me and the heat outside still interfearing with my thinking about the moment. The ride back home. with good road all the way would take like 5-6 hours to get to Bangalore. So i start a bit late. Kiran was kind enough to come to the hotel and guide me out till the highway. Bid byes and time to get moving.

Was a typical hot day and its just a leisure ride on the wide and great NH46. Its just 4 or 6 six lane all they with noting much to differentiate between a km and other. Stop for a food at a highway hotel. Having cold on a hot summers day is frustrating. Cant have cooldrinks, cant sit outside and have to sit in the AC section so that its cool and then sit away from the AC so it wont be too cold. And have coffee too.

Get to Krishnagiri in good time and take a right at NH7 and this very familiar road. The landscape or i say roadscape is actually pretty around here. So stop a few times to click the roadscapes. Reach Hosur and call up dad saying i am near and have to deal with some traffic now. The traffic after Electronics city had eased up due to roads done pretty done and saved me some slow go.

Reach home in no time and glad to see my relieved Dad waiting for me. We hug and catchup after a long time. He congradulated me on the achievement which need not have been achieved he says :) Dunno what to write ahead but that i am Home.

The trips come to an end. Though kinda miss the talking with wind the days to come. I must say that i was tired and guess made it back just before my back took a real bad beating. Back in the comforts of home and the trip is yet to hit me i guess.

My partner the Karizma went places with out a hitch till it broke down in Veralimalai. Thanks to friends all over the country, got the help and information needed and helped me complete the trip.

Kiran seeing me off at chennai...

The gates to home...

Getting nearer...

Just clicking away the roadscapes today...

A full meals for lunch...

At this nice highway hotel...

Never seen such green 4lane road!

Trying out Bokeh...

Some shallow mountains to cross. Then things will get cooler...

Thats quite a topple over...

Missed my train...

Food for thought...

Hit the NH 7 and take a right to Bangalore...

Almost there....

Would have been riding up on the 15 km long flyover if that machine had worked any faster...

Traffic has eased out here thanks to the done up road in these months. Else it would be painfully slow here.

Last hurdle before home...

Father and son united :)

Goes into the parking for some time i guess...

Thats the Odoreading at the end of the trip. Reduse 10034 and get the Tripmeter of 25508 KMs

Day 174 - Aug 29 - Tanjavur to Chennai

Aug29 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Trail Maps

345 KMs Trip Meter 25175 KMs.

Having trouble sleeping at night. As expected i was sick with fever by morning with weakness and all. Well i cant be smooth after all at the end of it i guess. Rest a day? well this was nothing like it was in Nepal. So went on with the plan for the day. Got up early and left room by 6am to check out the famous Tanjavur Big temple. This was a bit smaller compared to srirangam temple but the entire premises is free of regular life. The huge court yard in side couple of gates. It was awesome in the early morning coolness. But was hard work for me with fever. Looking at the top portion of the main tower, recollected a program about it in discovery channel few years back. Like the huge single piece of stone at the top was moved up by a 6 KM ramp. Cos not cranes in those times. But latest discovery says something else i heard. Even the center main temple was huge with a huge Shivlinga inside. Walk around the complex and it was time to ride on.

Had a long way to chennai and its going to get hot. Once again relied on riding to cure my illness ;) Got out of the hotel packing in slowmotion. Instead of going via Nagapatnam, thought of going via kumbakonam riding along the river Kaveri. Was suggested by arun which i took but not in the exact way. Stuck to the main roads and boy was it crowded over there. And i thought i would be riding in peaceful country side. Now with not so good sleep. I felt sleepy, real sleepy. Got pretty hard to control and had to stop for a tea. Things were bettor after that. Saw another huge colorful temple in Kumbakonam. Even in the next town as well. Later Arun tells me that there are around 17 huge temples in the area. With not so pleasurable ride i hit the coastal road to pondicherry. Traffic eased out here and can now ride peacefully.

Heard of people visiting Koodalur. Thought would check it out, then visit Mahabalipuram and then head to Chennai. Kiran was kinda enough come and wait for me ont he outskirts of chennai. Made it to pondicherry by 3 pm. Now i had to stop for the click at the meter. Yes i had made it to 25k Mark. Though not the target but was nice to see the number. It was getting late and heading directly to the ECR to make a run to chennai. Been to pondicherry before so can as well move on. Now i ride the famous East coast road. Keep seeing the sea to my right. Tempted to spend some time there but its getting late to chennai so i move on. Make it good pace to Mahabalipuram by 5.15pm. Vaugely remember going there in my child hood, where we had gone almost near to the beach in the car. But once there it was all crowded and vehicles were supposed to be parked quiet far from the beach or the shore temple. Well have to turn back then. Have a quick bite and communicated with Kiran who was on his way to meet me at Muttakodu.

Get there by 6.30 pm and meet up. Then follow him into Chennai. But boy was there traffic! and it was hot. Caught up in the peak evening traffic and its not even a weekday! Was an agonizing hour of riding in touch and go traffic, i was sick, tired, bike was heavy. It was tough time. Kiran patiently waited was my extra wide bike to get around the traffic. Plan was to stay in Vadapalli so that i would be easy to ride out tomm to Bangalore. Guess its better to deal with most of the traffic in the evening then the next day in the heat of the day. After no room at a hotel and another 20 mins to get to another one couple of kms ahead, took the expensive room as i was done riding for they day.

Phew things looked settled now. Freshen up in the room and ride out with Kiran to meet the Chennai guys for the dinner. It was a nice evening over bike talk with Kiran, Kishor, Steve, Vicky, Madhu and Ananth. I was surprised to see a cake with Destination unknown written on it along with 25! Looks like 25 is my number and what a coincedence tripped 25k kms today. Bid byes to the guys and back to the room. Well this is my last night out and hope to catch some good sleep before the home run tomm.

The Tanjavur Big temple...

From right below the gate...

One gate inside...

The huge top to the main temple tower....

Me in the main temple yard...

The main tower...

Lot of ancient script on the walls...

Entering the main temple...

Its huge inside...

Huge ShivLing in the sanctum sanctuary...

Looking out...

Huge Nandi facing the temple...

My bike's now the poser...

Looking around for the palace...

Can actually ride in some palace premises...

Cant go no fruther...

wall around the palace... where can i get it???

A huge tower by the palace...

It does not open till 9am. Guess i am not going to stick around...

I ride out...

Tanjavur's clock tower...

The streets...

Ready to leave Hotel Tamil Nadu...

Pretty classic appearance at the lobby...

Ride on the country side...

Lush crops for the season...

Some village houses...

Temple at Kumbakonam...

Bridge across the river Dry...

Nice coastal roads...

A tad too late to catch 35k on the odo...

Where i am heading today....

There it is! 25k on the TripMeter!

Entering Pondicherry...

Some french looking building?

Entering ECR...

Looks nice to ride...

Some salt farms around...

Now this is a 10x zoom and he was that far. But he was sharp enough to figure out that i had stopped for a pic. Awesome. Waved back :)

Some back waters...

Caught him unawares this time...

Backwater beach...

A back water canal...

Just a zoom click of the Mahabalipuram shore temple...

Sun going down...

The last time i would look at a sea for some time :)

The wonderful cake by Chennai guys...

No flash, so the guys are a blurr...