Sad that I left this trip incomplete as well. Fate is what I can blame grrr!!!
Today I have too many salutations to start with, but let me quote down what I think is the most funny here.
I and my colleague were going for lunch, in my car. We enter I pull my seat belts and he pulls the passenger side seat belt
Ufff! Your passenger side seat belt has become stiff. That pretty much explains your life.
I couldn’t laugh more at that comment. Pretty true about what he said. That explains my life.
I have do so many solo trips by now that I might be labelled a ‘Loner’ by my family and friends. I have got the hang of solo travels. NO. My IQ and planning has not improved, but I have gotten used to travelling alone without getting too bored. I can now look at my peers and laugh at them, when they are like ‘Travelling alone is so boring.’
I say waiting for someone to travel along is the utmost boring thing. Just use the time in hand and go for it. Alone or in a group. Don’t bother.
Now that today’s gyaan is dealt with, let me move on.
That was a good trip to Athirapally with bhpians. And then again I had good 5-6 days left to go. I had done all that I had intended to during these past days. What next?
Another trip. Where to? I had quite a few places in my mind. But I had to be cost efficient this time, so lot of options got voted out. Including Meghamalai, which was a priority for me.
Then again the place should be less crowded, I can’t deal with traffic and I am in mood for that. I am a tired man. It should be bit of an off-beat place, the one not so touristy.
I remembered long time back I and another friend had planned a trip to Ellaveezhapoonchira (also Illaveezhapoonchira for some others). It never happened cos I never had a ride. Even today that still remains to be my number one problem. I don’t have a ride, since I come to India for no more than 10-20 days in a year. May be it’s the other way around, the reason I don’t come to India for more than that 10-20 day period. I hate it without a motorcycle (read Bullet). Even if the motorcycle was to be parked simply at home, I would still love to see it there and I would pay up to come and see it more than anything.
Before I go any further, let me introduce you to this weird named place ‘Ellaveezhapoonchira’. Let me be a proper malayali and explain this big name to you all. Illa/Ella, is not illa which means no/not. Ila/Ela means leaves (from trees here) veezha means not falling or doesn’t fall, poo means flower and poonchira means flowery pond or pond filled with flowers. So summing it all up ‘a pond of flowers where leaves don’t fall’. Quite a beautiful name and that was one of the reason I wanted to go there. To see that pond. Did I succeed? Read on.
Read about this place here.
So once that was clear that not many options available for me, I mean my ride. I had to check out what to drive to Ellaveezhapoonchira. So I had two options, a Splendor plus which my father uses or a Honda Activa that my father’s younger brother has.
Obviously my uncle had kept the Activa in good condition. It was maintained, rear tire replaced and service done. Good.
I hate motorcycles without gears. Oh I just hate it. I avoid driving scooters as much as I can. It has been a long time I haven’t got a chance to drive scooters. So I just mentally prepared myself to do this Herculean task on a boring scooter. It will be boring but then I felt like experiencing it. I avoided the Splendor altogether, for which I pay with my sweat and blood later on.
So on a Wednesday morning at sharp 8…9…10…10:30 am I leave. My plan vs actual curve doesn’t match at all. But then the idea was to reach a bit before evening. Enjoy till evening and cover most of the distance before sunset. How hard can it be to drive a 100 kms? Then again, plan vs actual.
The thing that I didn’t realize was that this is an Activa. A thing that goes no more than 70 kmph and max 80 kmph if you don’t value your life. I should have left before 10:30 am.
That thing activa requires me to plan my emergency braking 20 meters before and if I am using my foot as well then 10 meters. No less than that.
How rude am I? It does all that is expected of it. It’s just not a good tourer. It’s a simple scooter for normal daily use. The 102 cc 7 hp scooter is probably 10 years old.
So this was the route map. 113 kms to be precise as per Google.
The initial reading looked like this…
The vehicle looked like this
I start and in 10 mins I am lost. But I get back to the proper road and fill up for 200 rs. The tank was full and it’s a pleasant feeling in India. I rode away to Mavelikara and I got lost there. I got back to Chennganur and then Thiruvalla. The roads are bad, I am not even half the way and I have a sore back already. I drive slow at say 40-50 kmph and the engine feels good at that kind of speed.
Once I crossed Thiruvalla, I asked for Manarcaud which is a part of Kottayam district. Now I don’t have GPS in my mobile so I resort to the oldest way of getting the directions, known as asking people. Once I was on the way to Thengana, the roads started getting better and towards Manarcaud it was heaven.
I would say Kottayam dist has some of the best roads to offer in the whole of Kerala. Amazing roads.
I stop at one place to rest my sore back. By back I mean the entire back. My ass was grass 😛
Then this happened…
Not one pothole on that rubberized track, oh I was so in love with those beautiful asphalts with amazing and scary twisties.
And then lot of greens
These sort of greenery is everywhere in Kerala. It’s not a big deal finding out some good place to take a couple of pics except in the city limits, which is in a state of despair. I was trying not to get down from the ride and making excuses for not clicking. It would be hard to cover distance if I do it often.
Will save the next pic for last…
So I drive again and there is no sense of urgency in my driving. 40-50 kms is what I did, the roads were good and I need to make sure that I don’t go wrong. I reach Kidangoor and then from there Pala. Marvellous roads except for some patches in the city.
I don’t stop until I reach Melukavu which is around 25 kms from Pala. Then I cannot control my urge to click. I stop more than 3 times at various places for a break.
I didn’t get the exposure right the first time, but later on I get better with it. I have done minimal editing in these road pics, cos they by themselves looked so good.
Had someone gifted me a super wide angle lens, this scenery would have looked fab. 😥
This deserves full size…
I drive again just to stop in another 5 kms. Melukavu is such a beautiful place. There is no way I can forget this place.
In a bit I stop again, what beautiful roads. Completely fell in love with the road.
After this I see the board to Ellaveezhapoonchira (written as Illaveezhapoonchira). It’s 9 kms to the place, and I try to cover it, and I realize it’s much more than 9 kms. I had to leave the Activa half the way because I smell oil and I smoke the scooter all over. That’s the first time I smoked a motorcycle and I felt like a cool guy. The pics of that I’ll add in the next post.
After the first 5 kms there is no roads. Simply none. There is just steep climb on a 4×4 territory. The Activa could have managed it at the expense of 1 liter petrol extra and some smoke but then I don’t like that. Petrol is gold in India. I park it there and leave my helmet on the it and start walking.
Here is where I wished I had taken a motorcycle with gear. There were motorcycle with gear doing this feat easily. I was walking that steep climb with 0 hp left in me.
I somehow put my camera in sketch mode, and I didn’t realize. The end result was this
Then I walk and click
It started getting dark…
I walk walk and finally reach a point where I have to climb another 10 kms to see the view point. This is the point where I decide, I will come back with torquey Bullet and raid the hell out this place but for now it’s already 5:15 and I have to cover more than half of my way before the light goes out.
Somehow on the way back I find this small temple. I click a couple of pics there before I put my camera to rest and walk back.
I walk back to see my Activa and helmet safe and sound, waiting for me like an obedient school kid.
Now let me draw your attention to the small little drawbacks of this place…
Non existent road (all captured on my mobile phone)
This is the route in which I tried to unleash the hidden powers of Activa… failed miserably.
The top view point where I couldn’t make it.
Sun setting 🙂
On the return, I gave a good run for the money. At 70-80 kmph, I had couple of places where I had panics but then experience (read luck) helped me handle those situation. I was on the way to Manarcad when I lost the light and not one street light was working as expected.
I reached Thengana and I had a pillion half way towards my route, who helped me figure out another route. The distance might have been the same but helped to gun the Activa to glory.
The final reading as it read.
So highlights of this trip,
Start from home : 10:30 AM
Food from KTDC 7 kms away from Pala at 2:30 PM
Reach Ilaveezhapoonchira 4:15 PM
Trek up and return back 5:30 PM
Start the scooter for return leg 5:35PM
Reach home 9:05 PM
Total kms : 249 kms
Total fuel : 350 rs (with half a tank remaining)
So that was scary and unpredictable journey, successfully completed with some incomplete portions. I am satisfied as I didn’t spend much manhours planning the trip. The trip could have been much better and so must I get better in planning a trip well.
Now I’m introducing something new in my blog…. something I wanted but haven’t till now (thanks to Teny and his blog… taking inspiration from there)
A silent getaway, Good trekking spot, Helpful natives, Amazing nature, Solitude, Beautiful roads to the place till you reach last 10 kms, Melukavu, very cost effective, Do-able even on a 100cc motorcycle provided you know how to tackle the bad roads, at the top if the climate is good you can see view of places in Allepey dist and Malankara reservoir, good place to visit with friends or even family no signs of any anti-socials or such threats, Challenging.
Non existent roads for last 5-6 kms, Only one small shop on the way to the top, for hiring a jeep you might have to spend up to 1000 rs unless you bargain hard to get it a bit down, Very risky doing the bad trails on motorcycle, People might find the troubles taken unworthy for what awaits is just a view, 4×4 will be the best possible option to climb up hassle free, place looks a bit deserted and undeveloped.
Best time to visit :
Somewhere between Dec-Mar would be the best time to visit as I see it (based on my experience). Slight monsoon drizzles would leave the nature more beautiful but then it comes with it’s own risks. Especially the roads or lack of thereof. Hence I would suggest Dec-Mar to make it hassle free.
Things to be careful about:
When it starts to rain or if there is thunder / lightning, immediately start walking back. Don’t stay at the top as chances are high that the lightning might strike. Hence to avoid risk, if you even see drizzles, leave the place immediately.
My opinion :
Definitely worth a shot for all the beautiful roads till the place and if you love silence and tranquility, think no more. Recommended.
So when is Meghamalai? 😥