As cliche as the story behind my South India trip sounds, the fact is I was truly done with living my life like a droid and wanted to just break free. So in 2012, after years of slogging in my corporate life, I finally decided to put down my papers and just go out and take what life has to offer. Suddenly I had this period of clarity after I quit all the chaos behind me. It was like I needed to get away from the life I know to find myself.
The idea of riding stemmed out during my notice period. I was on a small budget and planned the route in such a way that I didn’t have to spend much on stay and food. I had two basic agendas for the trip – to visit a place that I haven’t visited, and relax at the beach as the sea for me represents absolute freedom. So the route I finalised was – Bangalore – Hampi – Hospet – Hubli – Dandeli – Goa – Gokarna – Manipal- Calicut – Thrissur – Trivandrum – Kanyakumari- Munnar – returning back to Thrissur – Coimbatore – Bangalore.
I got the bike serviced as this was a long trip and shared my trip details with my friends and colleagues who were very encouraging and praised me for doing something most of them could only wish for. This further strengthened my resolve and on 28th March 2012, I loaded my bike with luggage and started on the journey.
I had an early start on to the NH4 and headed towards Chitradurga and I was able to catch the sunset at Tumkur. My next stop was at a tea shop where the fact finally sunk in that here I was on a trip with no strings attached, and I could experience absolute freedom and be myself in the truest sense.
I took the diversion from the highway towards Bellary, that is a mining hub. The landscape changed here and with dry lands on both sides it proved to be quite uninviting and tiresome. I had to push myself to get through this stretch as it was nearly noon by the time I neared Bellary and the sun was blazing. This coupled with the heavy vehicular traffic proved to be a real harrowing experience. I entered Hampi around 2:30 pm and I had to cross the Tungabhadra river to reach my booked accommodation – Mowgli Guest House. This was the only place I had booked in advance, discovering the other places through the course of my journey. It was a quaint place near a valley and despite the power cuts, I quickly freshened up and took a nice nap as I was really worn out. In the evening, a visit to a nearby Hanuman Temple gave me a reality check about the state of my health as the visit entailed a steep climb of approximately 400 steps. But it all seemed worth it when I reached the top as I got to experience a spectacular sunset and I sat there in solitude gazing at this amazing sight taking it all in. After I returned to the guest house I chose to unwind with a nice chilled beer and some snacks and then hit the bed early.
The next three days in Hampi I spent visiting all the temples and other remains of the Vijayanagara dynasty. It wasn’t the ideal time to visit as it was the onset of summer and it was scorching hot. The apt time to visit Hampi is October to January and it’s a real treat for photographers with an interest in historic architecture. I decided to move on to my next destination that was Goa. Since it was a long ride, I decided to break the journey in Hubli. Immediately after I left Hampi, I stopped at Hospet where I got to see the magnificent Tungabhadra Dam. I continued my journey towards Hubli in the evening and it was a good three hours ride riddled with stretches where I was a lone rider. I reached Hubli around 9:30 pm and by the time I found a good hotel to stay, it was 11:00 pm. After spending a couple of days there I headed towards Goa and the route I decided to take was through the Dandeli forest, heading to Ramanagara leading to Ponda in Goa. This proved to be a perfect riding stretch with the favorable weather conditions and winding roads with mangroves on both sides. Now Dandeli is known for rafting and I was really hoping to raft through the waters there. Unfortunately when I reached this quaint town I realised that there were no sessions due to certain safety issues. Since there was not much to do, I continued further towards Goa. I stopped over for tea and got to know from the locals about a waterfall located deep inside the forest. In my search for this waterfall I came across Raghu who volunteered to take me to the waterfall. My initial scepticism changed to awe as I saw how he strived so hard to get me to the waterfall without expecting anything in return. We first rode through a 3 kms stretch of muddy roads and then had to trek further inside the forest. Despite all these efforts, I was unable to make it to the waterfall as access to the fall was wrecked. But that did not stop me from enjoying a refreshing dip in the river. Meeting Raghu was truly memorable and an eye opener as it was surprising to see a person in this day and age still do things for others without expecting any favor in return.
Now I was back on the road and was headed towards Ramnagar and enroute I passed Supa dam which also is a tiger reserve. Since entry to this reserve is restricted, I just took a few pictures and continued riding. The road were well tarred initially with lesser traffic, but as I entered the Ghat section, the roads deteriorated. Things got better as I entered Goa and it took me two hours to get to Calangute. I was ecstatic but I quickly moved to Anjuna as I just could not handle the crowd at Calangute. I settled down in my shack where I stayed for 5 days, completed 2 books but not once entered the beach. In spite of this I enjoyed every bit of the breeze and the sea, chilling out with a couple of drinks and sumptuous snacks. In fact I was lucky enough one night to attend an awesome party with amazing music and people!
During my stay in Goa, I got to interact with a Mexican named Anders. He introduced himself to me seeing the spiritual book I was reading. His knowledge on Hindu Mythology literally put me to shame. Here I was grappling with a book and in front of me was a man who looked like he had done a PHD in Sanskrit & Indian Mythology! He decided to accompany me to Gokarna, my next stop after Goa. We settled in a shack at Om Beach and our day was filled with intense spiritual discussions.
The next leg of journey was through the coast all the way to Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. I had multiple stops in between as this was a long ride. I did spend some time with my cousin in Manipal and later a stop over in Calicut and my home town Thrissur before reaching Trivandrum. Frankly the ride since I had entered Kerala had been tiresome. Even though it was April and just the beginning of summer, I could not ride beyond 11:00 am, as the scorching heat took a toll on me. I took time to meet a family friend at Thiruvattar, who I had not met in a while. They too were very keen to meet and hear my stories over lunch. After a nice siesta, I continued my journey to Kanyakumari. I entered Kanyakumari at 5:00 pm and that was the perfect time to catch the sunset. Since my plan was very flexible, I decided to just head back to Trivandrum and later head back home the next day.
This trip opened my eyes to multiple facets of life. I met people who are living their passion, I met great human beings who would go to any extent to help a stranger. I unearthed many aspects of me as an individual. I felt so clear and confident in my mind.
New South Wales – Byron Bay & Sydney
I rode from Brisbane to Byron Bay with a quick stop over at the Gold Coast to meet another rider couple. I
Warrier's Trail is a crazy dream of a simple guy that was inspired by a desire to travel, meeting people, see places and live life full of uncertainty.
The dream is to travel 40 countries, in over 500 odd days in 5 regions (S.E.Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe & Africa)
A journey of exploration!